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What is An Emerging Market?

  • Ashoka Mody

As developing economies become richer, they seek to contract with the global economy in increasingly complex ways. Dealing with that complexity often implies the need to renegotiate contracts. However, such recontracting is viewed with concern, particularly by market participants. At the same time, iron-clad commitments to abstain from recontracting are untenable. Sovereign debt experts have long dealt with this dilemma. This paper argues that the acute trade-off between commitment and flexibility is not unique to sovereign debt. Instead, it is the defining characteristic of an emerging market. Examples of World Bank guarantees on behalf of sovereign governments to private lenders, exchange rate regimes, and international bond contracts, highlight the evolution from commitment to flexibility. Early interaction with international markets typically benefits from strong transaction-specific commitment. However, the goal is to grow out of transactional commitments to achieve commitment through credible institutions. Institutional commitment allows the benefits of flexibility, with the country's "word" acting as the necessary assurance to behave responsibly.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 04/177.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:04/177
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  1. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2007. "Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle Is the Trend," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 69-102.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1995. "The Mirage of Fixed Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 5191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Romaine Ranciere & Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann, 2003. "Crises and Growth: A Re-Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 10073, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2003. "The Case For Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1419-1447, November.
  5. Michael D. Bordo, 2003. "Exchange Rate Regime Choice in Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 9654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robin Brooks & Kenneth Rogoff & Ashoka Mody & Nienke Oomes & Aasim M. Husain, 2004. "Evolution and Performance of Exchange Rate Regimes," IMF Occasional Papers 229, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Vegh, 2004. "When it Rains, it Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Working Papers 10780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Klingen, Christoph & Weder di Mauro, Beatrice & Zettelmeyer, Jeromin, 2004. "How Private Creditors Fared in Emerging Debt Markets, 1970-2000," CEPR Discussion Papers 4374, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody, 2004. "Do Collective Action Clauses Raise Borrowing Costs?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 247-264, 04.
  10. Broz, J. Lawrence, 2002. "Political System Transparency and Monetary Commitment Regimes," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(04), pages 861-887, September.
  11. Bordo, Michael D & Flandreau, Marc, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes and Globalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 3077, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Becker, Torbjorn & Richards, Anthony & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2003. "Bond restructuring and moral hazard: are collective action clauses costly?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 127-161, October.
  13. Atish R. Ghosh & Anne-Marie Gulde & Holger C. Wolf, 2003. "Exchange Rate Regimes: Choices and Consequences," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262072408, June.
  14. Stanley Fischer, 2001. "Exchange Rate Regimes: Is the Bipolar View Correct?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 3-24, Spring.
  15. Aasim M. Husain & Ashoka Mody & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "Exchange Rate Regime Durability and Performance in Developing Countries Versus Advanced Economies," NBER Working Papers 10673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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