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

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  • Emmanuel Farhi
  • Ivan Werning

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuel Farhi & Ivan Werning, 2012. "Dealing with the Trilemma: Optimal Capital Controls with Fixed Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 18199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18199
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Arnaud Costinot & Guido Lorenzoni & Iván Werning, 2014. "A Theory of Capital Controls as Dynamic Terms-of-Trade Manipulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(1), pages 77-128.
    3. Anton Korinek, 2011. "The New Economics of Prudential Capital Controls: A Research Agenda," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 59(3), pages 523-561, August.
    4. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca & Leduc, Sylvain, 2010. "Optimal Monetary Policy in Open Economies," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 16, pages 861-933 Elsevier.
    5. Neumeyer, Pablo A. & Perri, Fabrizio, 2005. "Business cycles in emerging economies: the role of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 345-380, March.
    6. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 2002. "A simple framework for international monetary policy analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 879-904, July.
    7. Jonathan David Ostry & Atish R. Ghosh & Karl F Habermeier & Marcos Chamon & Mahvash S Qureshi & Dennis B. S. Reinhardt, 2010. "Capital Inflows; The Role of Controls," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/04, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Jordi Galí & 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.
    9. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2001. "International and domestic collateral constraints in a model of emerging market crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 513-548, December.
    10. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 624-660, June.
    11. Stanley W. Black, 1972. "International money markets and flexible exchange rates," Staff Studies 70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1998. "Capital Flows and Capital-Market Crises: The Simple Economics of Sudden Stops," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 1, pages 35-54, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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