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Exchange Controls, Devaluations and Real Exchange Rates: The Latin American Experience


  • Sebastian Edwards


This paper deals with the anatomy of devaluation in Latin America. In an effort to understand the economics surrounding the causes and consequences of exchange rate crises, eighteen devaluation episodes that took place between 1962 and 1982 are investigated in detail. The paper focuses on: (1) the relation between (inconsistent) macroeconomics policies and exchange rate crises; (2) the role of real exchange rate overvaluation in the precipitation of balance of payment crises under pre-determined nominal exchange rates; (3) the role of exchange controls, multiple exchange rates and black markets in the period preceding devaluations; and (4) the effectiveness of nominal devaluations as a way to restore real exchange rate equilibrium. A distinction is made between stepwise devaluations and crawling peg regime. It was found that historically most stepwise devaluations have had difficulty in sustaining a real devaluation over the medium term. Countries that adopted a crawling peg have generally been able to maintain a higher real exchange rate. In many cases, however, this has been achieved at the cost of substantial inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Edwards, 1987. "Exchange Controls, Devaluations and Real Exchange Rates: The Latin American Experience," NBER Working Papers 2348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2348
    Note: ITI IFM

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-325, August.
    2. Razin, Assaf & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1983. "Trade taxes and the current account," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 55-57.
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    5. Svensson, Lars E O & Razin, Assaf, 1983. "The Terms of Trade and the Current Account: The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 97-125, February.
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    1. Frankel, Jeffrey & Saravelos, George, 2012. "Can leading indicators assess country vulnerability? Evidence from the 2008–09 global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 216-231.
    2. Emmanuel Owusu-Sekyere & Reneé van Eyden & Francis M Kemegue, 2014. "Remittances and the Dutch Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Dynamic Panel Approach," Contemporary Economics, University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, vol. 8(3), September.
    3. Carl Grekou, 2014. "On the effectiveness of devaluations in emerging and developing countries," EconomiX Working Papers 2014-61, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    4. Kuikeu, Oscar, 2011. "Comment la dernière crise financière a relancé le débat relatif à l'arrimage du fcfa à l'euro
      [How the recent financial crisis have revived the debate on the parity between fcfa and euro]
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    5. Kouretas, Georgios P. & Zarangas, Leonidas P., 2001. "Black and official exchange rates in Greece: an analysis of their long-run dynamics," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 295-314, July.
    6. Mark Crosby & Glenn Otto, 2001. "Growth and the Real Exchange Rate - Evidence from Eleven Countries," Working Papers 082001, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
    7. Ali Kutan, 1998. "Dynamics of parallel and official exchange rates: The experience of hungary," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 26(1), pages 54-65, March.
    8. Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee & Magda Kandil, 2010. "Exchange Rate Fluctuations and Output in Oil-Producing Countries: The Case of Iran," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 23-45, May.
    9. Anubha Dhasmana, 2015. "Transmission of real exchange rate changes to the manufacturing sector: The role of financial access," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 143, pages 48-69.
    10. BAHMANI-OSKOOEE, Mohsen & Mohammadian, Amirhossein, 2017. "On the Relation between Domestic Output and Exchange Rate in 68 Countries: An Asymmetry Analysis," MPRA Paper 82939, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Apr 2017.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:30:y:2010:i:1:p:247-264 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. MITEZA, Ilir, 2006. "Devaluation And Output In Five Transition Economies: A Panel Cointegration Approach Of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia And Romania, 1993-2000," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 6(1).
    13. Diamandis, Panayiotis F., 2003. "Market efficiency, purchasing power parity, and the official and parallel markets for foreign currency in Latin America," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 89-110.
    14. Diamandis, Panayiotis F. & Kouretas, Georgios P. & Zarangas, Leonidas, 2007. "Dual foreign currency markets and the role of expectations: Evidence from the Pacific Basin countries," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 238-259, June.
    15. Ndlela, Thandinkosi, 2011. "Evolution of Zimbabwe’s economic tragedy: a chronological review of macroeconomic policies and transition to the economic crisis," MPRA Paper 32703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Ghura, Dhaneshwar, 1995. "Effects of macroeconomic policies on income growth, inflation, and output growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 367-395, August.
    17. Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee & Magda Kandil, 2010. "Exchange Rate Fluctuations and Output in Oil-Producing Countries: The Case of Iran," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 46(3), pages 23-45, May.
    18. Bouoiyour, jamal & Kuikeu, Oscar, 2007. "Pertinence de la dévaluation du Franc CFA de janvier 1994 : Une évaluation par le taux de change réel d’équilibre. Cas de l’économie camerounaise
      [Relevance of the CFA France devaluation in January
      ," MPRA Paper 31357, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Diamandis, Panayiotis F. & Drakos, Anastassios A., 2005. "Long-run dynamics of official and black-market exchange rates in Latin America," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 219-237, February.
    20. Dewhurst John & Kerwat Jamal & Molana Hassan, 2010. "Viability of Keeping a Fixed Exchange Rate in an Oil Exporting Country: Some Results for Libya from a Computable General Equilibrium Model," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 5(3), pages 24-45, February.
    21. Ndlela, Thandinkosi, 2010. "Implications of real exchange rate misalignment in developing countries: theory, empirical evidence and application to growth performance in Zimbabwe," MPRA Paper 32710, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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