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Optimal exchange rate regimes: Turning Mundell-Fleming's dictum on its head

  • Amartya Lahiri
  • Rajesh Singh
  • Carlos A. Vegh

A famous dictum in open economy macroeconomics -- which obtains in the Mundell-Fleming world of sticky prices and perfect capital mobility -- holds that the choice of the optimal exchange rate regime should depend on the type of shock hitting the economy. If shocks are predominantly real, a flexible exchange rate is optimal, whereas if shocks are mainly monetary, a fixed exchange rate is optimal. There is no obvious reason, however, why this paradigm should be the most appropriate one to think about this important issue. Arguably, asset market frictions may be as pervasive as goods market frictions (particularly in developing countries). In this light, we show that in a model with flexible prices and asset market frictions, the Mundell-Fleming dictum is turned on its head: flexible rates are optimal in the presence of monetary shocks, whereas fixed rates are optimal in response to real shocks. We thus conclude that the choice of an optimal exchange rate regime should depend not only on the type of shock (real versus monetary) but also on the type of friction (goods versus asset market).

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12684.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Publication status: published as Amartya Lahiri & Rajesh Singh & Carlos A. Vegh, 2007. "Optimal Exchange Rate Regimes: Turning Mundell-Fleming's Dictum on its Head," Panoeconomicus, Faculty of economics, Department of Economics, vol. 54(3), pages 249-270, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12684
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  1. Stephen Ching & Michael B. Devereux, 2000. "Mundell Revisited: A simple approach to the Costs and Benefits of a Single Currency Area," Working Papers 092000, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  2. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Extensive Margins and the Demand for Money at Low Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 961-991, October.
  3. Rajesh Singh & Amartya Lahiri & Carlos Vegh, 2004. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Asset Market Segmentation," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 643, Econometric Society.
  4. Singh, Rajesh & Lahiri, Amartya & Vegh, Carlos A, 2007. "Segmented Asset Markets and Optimal Exchange Rate Regimes," Staff General Research Papers 11446, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
  6. repec:rus:hseeco:124089 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Leslie Lipschitz, 1978. "Exchange Rate Policies for Developing Countries: Some Simple Arguments for Intervention (Les politiques de taux de change et les pays en voie de développement: quelques arguments simples en faveur de," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(4), pages 650-675, December.
  8. Luis Felipe Céspedes & Roberto Chang & Andrés Velasco, 2004. "Balance Sheets and Exchange Rate Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1183-1193, September.
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