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Twin fallacies about exchange rate policy in emerging markets

  • Reinhart, Carmen
  • Reinhart, Vincent

Two assertions about exchange rate regimes circulate with some frequency in policy circles. The first, the hypothesis of the excluded middle, holds that authorities must either choose perfectly floating exchange rates (preferably anchored by an inflation target for the central bank) or a hard (preferably irrevocable) peg. The second, seemingly unrelated, argues that the inability of emerging market economies to exercise monetary independence owes to the severe mistrust that they are perceived with by global investors because of the economic failures of prior governments. This paper argues that the theories of the excluded middle and original sin are twin and related fallacies that are contrary to theory and evidence. This paper will provide a model in which the government can choose policies consistent with either a pure float anchored by a constant money stock or a pure peg but, under certain circumstances, fail to find exchange rate stability at either corner. The problem is that the potential for regime change implies that the current government’s successors may behave less admirably, which will weigh on investors’ current behavior. The difficulties imparted by this expectation channel in an otherwise standard model of optimizing agents endowed with rational expectations shows both why looking back to explain credibility problems is looking the wrong way and why the excluded middle is, in fact, so crowded

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 13874.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13874
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  1. Jeffrey Frankel & Sergio Schmukler & Luis Serven, 2000. "Verifiability and the Vanishing Intermediate Exchange Rate Regime," NBER Working Papers 7901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann, 1999. "Exchange Rates and Financial Fragility," NBER Working Papers 7418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld and Kenneth Rogoff., 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C95-048, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Lawrence H. Summers, 2000. "International Financial Crises: Causes, Prevention, and Cures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 1-16, May.
  5. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1979. "On Models of Money and Perfect Foresight," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(1), pages 83-103, February.
  6. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Fear Of Floating," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 379-408, May.
  7. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  8. Mussa, Michael, 1982. "A Model of Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(1), pages 74-104, February.
  9. Wilson, Charles A, 1979. "Anticipated Shocks and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(3), pages 639-47, June.
  10. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Mirage of Floating Exchange Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 65-70, May.
  11. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "On the Time Consistency of Optimal Policy in a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1411-28, November.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  13. Stanley Fischer, 2001. "Exchange Rate Regimes: Is the Bipolar View Correct?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 3-24, Spring.
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