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Tough Policies, Incredible Policies?


  • Andres Velasco
  • Alejandro Neut


We revisit the question of what determines the credibility of macroeconomic policies here, of promises to repay public debt. Almost all thinking on the issue has focused on governments' strategic decision to default (or erode the value of outstanding debt via inflation/devaluation). But sometimes governments default not because they want to, but because they cannot avoid it: adverse shocks leave them no option. We build a model in which default/devaluation can occur deliberately (for strategic reasons) or unavoidably. If such unavoidable fiscal crises a) have pecuniary costs and b) occur with possible probability, much conventional wisdom on the determinantes of credibility need no longer hold. For instance, appointing a conservative policymaker or denominating public debt in foreign currency may reduce, not increase, credibility.

Suggested Citation

  • Andres Velasco & Alejandro Neut, 2003. "Tough Policies, Incredible Policies?," NBER Working Papers 9932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9932
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
    2. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1997. "Destabilizing effects of exchange-rate escape clauses," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 61-77, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey Frankel, 2011. "A Lesson from the South for Fiscal Policy in the US and Other Advanced Countries," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 53(3), pages 407-430, September.
    2. Juan Carlos Echeverry & Leopoldo Fergusson & Pablo Querubín, 2005. "Budget Inflexibility," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002070, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    3. Juan Carlos Echeverry & Leopoldo Fergusson & Pablo Querubin, 2004. "La Batalla Política Por El Presupuesto De La Nación: Inflexibilidades O Supervivencia Fiscal," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002944, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    4. Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2011. "How Can Commodity Exporters Make Fiscal and Monetary Policy Less Procyclical?," Scholarly Articles 4735392, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Alexander F. Wagner, 2006. "Choosing (and Reneging on) Exchange Rate Regimes," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 770-799, June.
    6. Hefeker, Carsten, 2004. "Default, Electoral Uncertainty and the Choice of Exchange Regime," HWWA Discussion Papers 298, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    7. Jeffrey Frankel, 2011. "Over-optimism in forecasts by official budget agencies and its implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(4), pages 536-562.
    8. Juan Carlos Echeverry & Jorge Alexander Bonilla & Andrés Moya, 2006. "Rigideces Institucionales Y Flexibilidad Presupuestaria: Los Casos De Argentina, Colombia, México Y Perú," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 003475, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    9. Kose, M. Ayhan & Prasad, Eswar & Rogoff, Kenneth & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2010. "Financial Globalization and Economic Policies," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    10. Jeffrey Frankel, 2013. "A Solution to Fiscal Procyclicality: The Structural Budget Institutions Pioneered by Chile," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí (ed.), Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance, edition 1, volume 17, chapter 9, pages 323-391 Central Bank of Chile.
    11. Ignacio Lozano & Hernán Rincón & Miguel Sarmiento & Jorge Ramos, 2008. "Regla fiscal cuantitativa para consolidar y blindar las finanzas públicas de Colombia," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 10(19), pages 311-352, July-Dece.
    12. Dani Rodrik, 2008. "Second-Best Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 100-104, May.
    13. Ricardo Ffrench-Davis, 2008. "From Financieristic To Real Macroeconomics: Seeking Development Convergence In Ees," Working Papers wp272, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    14. Juan Carlos Echeverry & Jorge Alexander Bonilla & Andrés Moya, 2006. "Rigideces Institucionales y Flexibilidad Presupuestaria: Origen, Motivación y Efectos sobre el Presupuesto," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 9091, Inter-American Development Bank.
    15. repec:eee:finsta:v:33:y:2017:i:c:p:187-206 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2011. "A Solution to Overoptimistic Forecasts and Fiscal Procyclicality: The Structural Budget Institutions Pioneered by Chile," Working Paper Series 11-012, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    17. Dal Bo, Ernesto, 2006. "Committees with supermajority voting yield commitment with flexibility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 573-599, May.
    18. Juan Carlos Echeverry & Jorge Alexander Bonilla & Andrés Moya, 2006. "Rigideces Institucionales y Flexibilidad Presupuestaria: Origen, Motivación y Efectos sobre el Presupuesto," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2303, Inter-American Development Bank.
    19. Carmignani Fabrizio & Colombo Emilio & Tirelli Patrizio, 2008. "Economic and Socio-Political Determinants of de Facto Monetary Institutions and Inflationary Outcomes," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-29, November.
    20. Carmignani, Fabrizio & Colombo, Emilio & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2008. "Exploring different views of exchange rate regime choice," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1177-1197, November.

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    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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