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Dealing with the Trilemma: Optimal Capital Controls with Fixed Exchange Rates

  • Emmanuel Farhi
  • Ivan Werning

We lay down a standard macroeconomic model of a small open economy with a fixed exchange rate and study optimal capital controls (defined as maximizing the utility of a representative household). We provide sharp analytical and numerical characterizations for a variety of shocks. We find that capital controls are employed to respond to some shocks but not others. They are particularly effective to address risk-premium shocks that affect the interest rate differential foreign investors require in a particular country. We also discuss how the solution depends on the degree of nominal rigidity and the openness of the economy. We show that capital controls may be optimal even if the exchange rate is not fixed in response to risk premium shocks or if wages, in addition to prices, are sticky. Finally, we compare the single country's optimum to a coordinated world solution. Our results show a limited need for coordination. However, the uncoordinated solution features the same capital controls as the coordinated solution.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18199.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18199
Note: EFG IFM ME
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  1. Maurice Obstfeld and Kenneth Rogoff., 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C95-048, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Pablo A. Neumeyer & Fabrizio Perri, 2004. "Business Cycles in Emerging Economies: The Role of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 10387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Sylvain Leduc, 2010. "Optimal monetary policy in open economies," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/35, European University Institute.
  4. Ricardo Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2000. "International and Domestic Collateral Constraints in a Model of Emerging Market Crises," NBER Working Papers 7971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Martin, Alberto & Taddei, Filippo, 2013. "International capital flows and credit market imperfections: A tale of two frictions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 441-452.
  6. Arnaud Costinot & Guido Lorenzoni & Iván Werning, 2011. "A Theory of Capital Controls as Dynamic Terms-of-Trade Manipulation," NBER Working Papers 17680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1998. "Capital Flows and Capital-Market Crises: The Simple Economics of Sudden Stops," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 35-54, November.
  8. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 2002. "A Simple Framework for International Monetary Policy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 3355, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Jonathan David Ostry & Atish R. Ghosh & Karl Friedrich Habermeier & Marcos Chamon & Mahvash Saeed Qureshi & Dennis B. S. Reinhardt, 2010. "Capital Inflows; The Role of Controls," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/04, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Jordi Gal� & Tommaso Monacelli, 2005. "Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 707-734.
  11. Anton Korinek, 2011. "The New Economics of Prudential Capital Controls: A Research Agenda," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 59(3), pages 523-561, August.
  12. Stanley W. Black, 1972. "International money markets and flexible exchange rates," Staff Studies 70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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