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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18199
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  1. Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola & Sylvain Leduc, 2010. "Optimal monetary policy in open economies," Working Paper Series 2010-13, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Jordi Galí & Tommaso Monacelli, 2004. "Monetary policy and exchange rate volatility in a small open economy," Economics Working Papers 835, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Scholarly Articles 12491026, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Alberto Martin & Filippo Taddei, 2010. "International capital flows and credit market imperfections: A tale of two frictions," Economics Working Papers 1245, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2012.
  10. Stanley W. Black, 1972. "International money markets and flexible exchange rates," Staff Studies 70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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