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Premature Liberalization, Incomplete Stabilization: the Ozal Decade in Turkey


  • Dani Rodrik


In late 1979, Turkey stood in the throes of a foreign exchange crisis, with widespread shortages, negative growth, and inflation into triple digits. A decade later, Turkey has a comfortable balance-of-payments situation, and sits atop considerable foreign exchange reserves. The economy has achieved a remarkable transformation from an inward-oriented outlook to an outwardoriented one. Yet, after some success in the early 1980s, inflation remains unconquered and the public sector budget is out of control. This paper provides an interpretation of the Turkish experience in the 1980s. It is argued that foreign capital inflows in the early 1980s cushioned the fiscal squeeze, and allowed a relatively painless reduction in inflation alongside a process of export-oriented growth. In the best of all possible worlds, the outward-oriented reforms would have taken sufficient root by the mid-1980s to allow the public sector to undertake the delayed retrenchment as the inflows came to an end, at no great cost to output. Instead, policy followed a mix of liberalization with patronage politics detrimental to monetary discipline. Financial liberalization reduced demand for base money at the same time that fiscal balances came under increasing strain due to the external transfer. Inflation was rekindled under the dual influence of fiscal deficits and a shrinking base for the inflation tax.

Suggested Citation

  • Dani Rodrik, 1990. "Premature Liberalization, Incomplete Stabilization: the Ozal Decade in Turkey," NBER Working Papers 3300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3300
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Reynoso, Alejandro, 1989. "Financial Factors in Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 204-209, May.
    2. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
    3. Ritu Anand & Sweder van Wijnbergen, 1988. "Inflation, External Debt and Financial Sector Reform: A Quantitative Approach To Consistent Fiscal Policy With An Application to Turkey," NBER Working Papers 2731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Claude Vérez, 2003. "Le cercle vicieux des crises bancaire, monétaire et financière en Turquie," Revue Tiers Monde, Programme National Persée, vol. 44(175), pages 683-706.
    2. dogru, bulent, 2013. "Seigniorage Revenue and Inflation Tax: Testing Optimal Seigniorage Theory for Turkish Economy," MPRA Paper 47885, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Levinsohn, James, 1993. "Testing the imports-as-market-discipline hypothesis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 1-22, August.
    4. Levent, Korap, 2006. "An empirical analysis of Turkish inflation (1988-2004): some non-monetarist estimations," MPRA Paper 19630, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Uctum, Merih & Uctum, Remzi, 2011. "Crises, portfolio flows, and foreign direct investment: An application to Turkey," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 462-480.
    6. Turhan, Ibrahim M., 2008. "Why did it work this time: a comparative analysis of transformation of Turkish economy after 2002," MPRA Paper 31158, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Onur Koska, 2005. "Financial Liberalization Era in Turkey: Critique on Decree No.32," Macroeconomics 0506016, EconWPA.
    8. Ozlem Aytac, 2008. "A Model of Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization for Turkey," Caepr Working Papers 2008-001, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    9. Hasan Ersel, 1991. "The Structural Adjustment : Turkey 1980-1990," Discussion Papers 9107, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
    10. Merih Uctum & Remzi Uctum, 2005. "Portfolio Flows, Foreign Direct Investment, Crises," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 224, Society for Computational Economics.
    11. Ari, Ali, 2012. "Early warning systems for currency crises: The Turkish case," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 391-410.
    12. Demir, Firat, 2004. "A Failure Story: Politics and Financial Liberalization in Turkey, Revisiting the Revolving Door Hypothesis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 851-869, May.
    13. Unal Zenginobuz & Sumru Altug, 2009. "What has been the Role of Investment in Turkey's Growth Performance?," Working Papers 2009/02, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
    14. Demirbag, Mehmet & McGuinness, Martina & Akin, Ahmet & Bayyurt, Nizamettin & Basti, Eyup, 2016. "The professional service firm (PSF) in a globalised economy: A study of the efficiency of securities firms in an emerging market," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 1089-1102.
    15. Ari, Ali, 2008. "An Early Warning Signals Approach for Currency Crises: The Turkish Case," MPRA Paper 25858, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2009.
    16. Levent, Korap, 2006. "Seigniorage revenue and Turkish economy," MPRA Paper 20106, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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