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Is Brazil Different? Risk, Dollarization, and Interest Rates in Emerging Markets

  • Márcio Holland
  • Edmar L. Bacha
  • Fernando M. Gonçalves

We investigate the role of financial dollarization in the determination of real interest rates in emerging economies. In a simple analytical model, we show that a strategy of "dedollarizing" the economy, if it fails to address fundamental macroeconomic risks, leads to higher domestic real interest rates. We confirm this prediction in an empirical model, but find that the effect is small after controlling for the risks of dilution and default. Brazil provides a natural case study given its low degree of financial dollarization and very high real interest rates. The estimated model is unable to explain the high interest rate levels in the aftermath of Brazil's 1994 inflation stabilization. However, since the adoption in 1999 of inflation targeting and floating exchange rates, Brazil's real interest rates are gradually converging to the model's predicted values. The estimation also shows that further drops in Brazil's real interest rates could be achieved more effectively through improvements in fundamentals that lead to investment-grade status rather than through financial dollarization.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/294.

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Length: 25
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/294
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  1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "Serial Default and the "Paradox" of Rich-to-Poor Capital Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 53-58, May.
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  4. Sebastian Edwards, 2005. "Capital Controls, Sudden Stops and Current Account Reversals," NBER Working Papers 11170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
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  8. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  9. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear Of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408, May.
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  11. De Nicolo, Gianni & Honohan, Patrick & Ize, Alain, 2003. "Dollarization of the banking system : good or bad?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3116, The World Bank.
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  13. Robert Rennhack & Masahiro Nozaki, 2006. "Financial Dollarization in Latin America," IMF Working Papers 06/7, International Monetary Fund.
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  17. Paulo Chananeco F. de Barcellos Neto & Marcelo Savino Portugal, 2006. "The Natural Rate Of Interest In Brazil Between 1999 And 2005," Anais do XXXIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 34th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 84, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  18. repec:rus:hseeco:181565 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Fernando M. Gonçalves & Márcio Holland & Andrei D. Spacov, 2005. "Can Jurisdictional Uncertainty And Capital Controls Explain The High Level Of Real Interest Rates In Brazil? Evidence From Panel Data," Anais do XXXIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 33th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 028, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
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  23. Arteta Carlos O., 2005. "Exchange Rate Regimes and Financial Dollarization: Does Flexibility Reduce Currency Mismatches in Bank Intermediation?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-30, May.
  24. Adam Bennett & Eduardo Borensztein & Tomás J. T. Baliño, 1999. "Monetary Policy in Dollarized Economies," IMF Occasional Papers 171, International Monetary Fund.
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