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Reserve Accumulation, Macroeconomic Stabilization, and Sovereign Risk

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  • Javier Bianchi
  • César Sosa-Padilla

Abstract

In the past three decades, governments in emerging markets have accumulated large amounts of international reserves, especially those with fixed exchange rates. This paper proposes a theory of reserve accumulation that can account for these facts. Using a model of endogenous sovereign default with nominal rigidities, we argue that the interaction between sovereign risk and aggregate demand amplification generates a macroeconomic-stabilization hedging role for international reserves. We show that issuing debt to purchase reserves during good times allows the government to stabilize aggregate demand when sovereign spreads rise and rolling over the debt becomes more expensive. We provide empirical evidence consistent with the model’s predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Bianchi & César Sosa-Padilla, 2020. "Reserve Accumulation, Macroeconomic Stabilization, and Sovereign Risk," NBER Working Papers 27323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27323
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    Cited by:

    1. Shahed Khan & Cesar Sosa-Padilla & Alok Johri, 2016. "Interest Rate Uncertainty and Sovereign Default Risk," 2016 Meeting Papers 1676, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Javier Bianchi & Guido Lorenzoni, 2021. "The Prudential Use of Capital Controls and Foreign Currency Reserves," NBER Working Papers 29476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Javier Bianchi & Jorge Mondragon, 2018. "Monetary Independence and Rollover Crises," NBER Working Papers 25340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. César Sosa-Padilla & Federico Sturzenegger, 2021. "Does It Matter How Central Banks Accumulate Reserves? Evidence from Sovereign Spreads," Working Papers 79, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE).
    5. Alexander Mihailov & Harun Nasir, 2020. "Sudden Stops, Productivity and the Optimal Level of International Reserves for Small Open Economies," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-24, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    6. Javier Bianchi & Cesar Sosa-Padilla, 2022. "On Wars, Sanctions and Sovereign Default," Working Papers 151, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE).

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    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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