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International Reserves; Precautionary vs. Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence

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  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Jaewoo Lee

Abstract

This paper compares the importance of precautionary and mercantilist motives in the hoarding of international reserves by developing countries. Overall, empirical results support precautionary motives; in particular, a more liberal capital account regime increases international reserves. Theoretically, large precautionary demand for international reserves arises as a self-insurance to avoid costly liquidation of long-term projects when the economy is susceptible to sudden stops. The welfare gain from the optimal management of international reserves is of a first-order magnitude, reducing the welfare cost of liquidity shocks from a first-order to a second-order magnitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Aizenman & Jaewoo Lee, 2005. "International Reserves; Precautionary vs. Mercantilist Views, Theory and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 05/198, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2003. "The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: What is going on?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 370-400, September.
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    11. Jaewoo Lee, 2004. "Insurance Value of International Reserves; An Option Pricing Approach," IMF Working Papers 04/175, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Bryant, John, 1980. "A model of reserves, bank runs, and deposit insurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 335-344, December.
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