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Exchange Rate Regime Choice with Multiple Key Currencies

Listed author(s):
  • Thomas Plümper and Eric Neumayer

Recent scholarship on exchange rate regime choice seeks to explain why some countries fix their exchange rate to an anchor currency, but it neglects the question to which currency countries peg. This article posits that an understanding of the choice of anchor currency also improves political economists’ understanding of the decision for an exchange rate peg itself. Drawing on the ‘fear of floating literature’, we argue that the choice of anchor currency is mainly determined by the degree of dependence of the potentially pegging country on imports from the country or currency union issuing the key currency as well as the degree of dependence on imports from the currency area, that is, from other countries which have already pegged to that key currency. This is because an exchange rate depreciation against the main trading partners’ currency increases domestic inflationary pressures due to exchange-rate pass-through. In addition, our theory claims that central bank independence and de facto fixed exchange rates are complements (rather than substitutes) since independent central banks care more than governments about imported inflation. Analyzing a pooled cross-section of 106 countries over the period 1974 to 2005, we find ample evidence in support of our theoretical predictions.

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Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp264.

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Date of creation: 04 Nov 2008
Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp264
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