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India’s trilemma: financial liberalization, exchange rates and monetary policy


  • Hutchison, Michael
  • Sengupta, Rajeswari
  • Singh, Nirvikar


A key challenge for macroeconomic policy in open economies is how to simultaneously manage exchange rates, interest rates and capital account openness—the trilemma. This paper calculates a trilemma index for India and investigates its evolution over time. We find that financial integration has increased markedly after the mid-2000s, with corresponding limitations on monetary independence and exchange rate stability. This tradeoff has been mitigated, however, with the rise of international reserves as a partially independent instrument of macroeconomic policy. In addition, we confirm that the weighted sum of the three indexes adds up to a constant, validating the notion that a rise in one trilemma variable should be traded-off with a drop of the weighted sum of the other two. Finally, we consider the implications of changes in the trilemma index for macroeconomic outcomes. We find some evidence that greater financial integration and corresponding loss of monetary autonomy and exchange rate stability has influenced inflation and inflation volatility, though not in a consistent manner.

Suggested Citation

  • Hutchison, Michael & Sengupta, Rajeswari & Singh, Nirvikar, 2010. "India’s trilemma: financial liberalization, exchange rates and monetary policy," MPRA Paper 25327, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25327

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2008. "Assessing the Emerging Global Financial Architecture: Measuring the Trilemma's Configurations over Time," NBER Working Papers 14533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hutchison, Michael & Kendall, Jake & Pasricha, Gurnain & Singh, Nirvikar, 2009. "Indian capital control liberalization: Evidence from NDF markets," Working Papers 09/60, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    3. Aizenman, Joshua & Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2011. "Surfing the waves of globalization: Asia and financial globalization in the context of the trilemma," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 290-320, September.
    4. Aizenman, Joshua & Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2010. "The emerging global financial architecture: Tracing and evaluating new patterns of the trilemma configuration," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 615-641, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sengupta, Rajeswari & Sen Gupta, Abhijit, 2013. "Policy Tradeoffs in an Open Economy and the Role of G-20 in Global Macroeconomic Policy Coordination," MPRA Paper 53948, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 12 Jul 2013.
    2. Rajeswari Sengupta, 2015. "The Impossible Trinity: Where does India stand?," Working Papers id:6659, eSocialSciences.
    3. Sen Gupta, Abhijit & Sengupta, Rajeswari, 2013. "Management of Capital Flows in India: 1990-2011," MPRA Paper 46217, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. De Grauwe, Paul & Foresti, Pasquale, 2016. "Fiscal rules, financial stability and optimal currency areas," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 278-281.
    5. repec:eee:jimfin:v:75:y:2017:i:c:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Cortuk, Orcan, 2018. "Sweden's Trilemma Trade-offs," MPRA Paper 84458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Andrew Filardo & Stephen Grenville, 2012. "Central bank balance sheets and foreign exchange rate regimes: understanding the nexus in Asia," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Are central bank balance sheets in Asia too large?, volume 66, pages 76-110 Bank for International Settlements.
    8. repec:spr:weltar:v:154:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10290-017-0302-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:pra:mprapa:39771 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Aizenman, Joshua & Ito, Hiro, 2012. "Trilemma policy convergence patterns and output volatility," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 269-285.
    11. Aizenman, Joshua & Sengupta, Rajeswari, 2011. "The financial trilemma in China and a comparative analysis with India," MPRA Paper 39798, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Jul 2012.
    12. repec:ove:journl:aid:11272 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Orcan ÇÖRTÜK & Nirvikar SINGH, 2013. "Turkey’ Trilemma Trade-offs: Is there a role for reserves?," Iktisat Isletme ve Finans, Bilgesel Yayincilik, vol. 28(328), pages 67-88.
    14. Amit Ghosh & Ramya Ghosh, 2012. "Capital controls, exchange rate regime and monetary policy independence in India," International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 5(3), pages 212-230.
    15. Cortuk, Orcan & Singh, Nirvikar, 2011. "Turkey's trilemma trade-offs," MPRA Paper 35623, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Layal Mansour, 2014. "The Power of International Reserves: the impossible trinity becomes possible," Working Papers halshs-01054614, HAL.
    17. Biswajit Mohanty & N.R. Bhanumurthy, 2014. "Exchange Rate Regimes and Inflation: Evidence from India," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(2), pages 311-332, June.
    18. Ma, Guonan & McCauley, Robert N., 2013. "Is China or India more financially open?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 6-27.
    19. repec:agr:journl:v:xxiv:y:2017:i:2(611):p:303-318 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:bla:intfin:v:20:y:2017:i:2:p:135-154 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Financial trilemma; Indian economy; International reserves; Foreign exchange intervention; Monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates

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