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Delaying the Inevitable: Optimal Interest Rate Policy and BOP Crises

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  • Amartya Lahiri
  • Carlos A. Vegh

Abstract

The classical model of balance of payments crises implicitly assumes that the central bank sits passively as international reserves dwindle. In practice, however, central banks typically defend pegs aggressively by raising short-term interest rates. This paper analyzes the feasibility and optimality of raising interest rates to delay a potential BOP crisis. Interest rate policy works through two distinct channels. By raising demand for domestic, interest-bearing liquid assets, higher interest rates tend to delay the crisis. Higher interest rates, however, increase public debt service and imply higher future inflation, which tends to bring forward the crisis. We show that, under certain conditions, it is feasible to delay the crisis, but raising interest rates beyond a certain point may actually hasten the crisis. A similar non-monotonic relationship emerges between welfare and the increase in interest rates. It is thus optimal to engage in some active interest rate defense but only up to a certain point. In fact, there is a whole range of interest rate increases for which it is feasible to delay the crisis but not optimal to do so.

Suggested Citation

  • Amartya Lahiri & Carlos A. Vegh, 2000. "Delaying the Inevitable: Optimal Interest Rate Policy and BOP Crises," NBER Working Papers 7734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7734
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    Cited by:

    1. Flood, Robert P. & Jeanne, Olivier, 2005. "An interest rate defense of a fixed exchange rate?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 471-484, July.
    2. Stanley Black & Charis Christofides & Alex Mourmouras, 2006. "Convertibility risk: the precautionary demand for foreign currency in a crisis," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 141-165, March.
    3. Akemann, Michael & Kanczuk, Fabio, 2005. "Sovereign default and the sustainability risk premium effect," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 53-69, February.
    4. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Vegh, Carlos A., 1999. "Inflation stabilization and bop crises in developing countries," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 24, pages 1531-1614 Elsevier.
    5. Ahmed Kamaly & Nese Erbil, 2000. "A Var Analysis of Exchange Market Pressure: A Case Study for the MENA Region," Working Papers 2025, Economic Research Forum, revised 09 Jul 2000.
    6. Andryakov Alexander & Gurvich Evsey, 2002. "A Model of the Russian Crisis Development," EERC Working Paper Series 02-03e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    7. Evan C Tanner, 2002. "Exchange Market Pressure, Currency Crises, and Monetary Policy; Additional Evidence From Emerging Markets," IMF Working Papers 02/14, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Végh, 2005. "When It Rains, It Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 11-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2000. "Understanding the Korean and Thai currency crises," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 45-60.
    10. Campa, Jose M., 2002. "Exchange rate crises and bilateral trade flows in Latin America," IESE Research Papers D/470, IESE Business School.
    11. AndrewK. Rose & MarkM. Spiegel, 2010. "Cross-Country Causes And Consequences Of The 2008 Crisis: International Linkages And American Exposure," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 340-363, August.
    12. Flood, Robert P & Rose, Andrew K, 2001. "Uncovered Interest Parity in Crisis: The Interest Rate Defence in the 1990s," CEPR Discussion Papers 2943, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Végh, 2003. "The Unholy Trinity of Financial Contagion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 51-74, Fall.
    14. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Shang-Jin Wei, 2004. "Managing Macroeconomic Crises," NBER Working Papers 10907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Gonzalo Caprirolo & Vladimir Lavrac, 2003. "Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy in Slovenia," Eastward Enlargement of the Euro-zone Working Papers wp17g, Free University Berlin, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, revised 01 May 2003.
    16. Fernando Broner, 1999. "On the timing of balance of payments crises: Disaggregated information and interest rate policy," Economics Working Papers 840, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2002.
    17. Galindo, Arturo J. & Maloney, William F., 2002. "Second moments in speculative attack models: panel evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 97-129, January.
    18. Sergio Rebelo & Carlos A. Vegh, 2006. "When Is It Optimal to Abandon a Fixed Exchange Rate?," NBER Working Papers 12793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Amartya Lahiri & Carlos A. Végh, 2002. "Living with the Fear of Floating: An Optimal Policy Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Preventing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets, pages 663-704 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Alfredo Pistelli, 2007. "Speculative currency attacks: role of inconsistent macroeconomic policies and real exchange rate overvaluation," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 22(2), pages 3-27, December.
    21. Graciela L. Kaminsky, 2003. "Varieties of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 10193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:59:y:2014:i:02:n:s0217590814500131 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Hung-ju Chen; Hsiao-tang Hsu, 2004. "The Role of Firm Size in Controlling Output Volatility during the Asian Financial Crisis," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 11, Econometric Society.
    24. Gochoco-Bautista, Maria Socorro & Bautista, Carlos C., 2005. "Monetary policy and exchange market pressure: The case of the Philippines," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 153-168, March.

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    JEL classification:

    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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