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Credibility, Real Interest Rates, and the Optimal Speed of Trade Liberalization

  • Kenneth A. Froot

This paper investigates the effects of imperfectly credible trade liberalization programs on welfare and the allocation of real resources. We present a rational expectations model in which a government, with limited access to international financial markets may be forced to abort a liberalization program if hard-currency reserves are depleted too quickly. The liberalization's lack of perfect credibility arts as a distortion which becomes (rationally) intensified under the typical first-best policy of a direct move to free trade. A gradual lowering of trade barriers turns out to he welfare-superior to an immediate liberalization, and to improve the chance that. the program will ultimately succeed. We then derive the optimal speed of liberalization, the intertemporal allocation of resources, and the liberalization program's credibility.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2358.

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Date of creation: Aug 1987
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of International Economics, Vol. 25, pp. 71-93, (1988).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2358
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  1. Maurice Obstfeld, 1984. "Capital Flows, the Current Account, and the Real Exchange Rate: Consequences of Liberalization and Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 1526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1981. "Real Interest Rates, Home Goods, and Optimal External Borrowing," NBER Working Papers 0779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. McKinnon, Ronald I., 1982. "The order of economic liberalization: Lessons from Chile and Argentina," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 159-186, January.
  5. Jeffrey A. Frankel, Kenneth A. Froot, and Alejandra Mizala Salces., 1987. "Credibility, the Optimal Speed of Trade Liberalization, Real Interest Rates, and the Latin American Debt," Economics Working Papers 8750, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Sebastian Edwards & Sweder Van Wijnbergen, 1983. "The Welfare Effects of Trade and Capital Market Liberalization: Consequences of Different Sequencing Scenarios," UCLA Economics Working Papers 313, UCLA Department of Economics.
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