Trade balance constraints and optimal regulation
In this paper we develop a model to understand the interactions between optimal regulation and external credit constraints. If a big proportion of the regulated sector is owned by foreign investors, a credit-constrained country who wants to send profits abroad has to generate enough surplus in the trade account in order to compensate capital outflows. This may be a real problem in developing countries, in which regulated sectors are big and foreign ownership is very important. We show that the credit constraint translates into a constraint of maximum profits for the regulated firm. As a consequence, overall efficiency in the regulated sector is reduced to maintain incentive compatibility. With a flexible exchange rate, devaluation is an additional instrument to relax the credit constraint, but the country is not in general willing to relax it completely. Efficiency is higher than with a fixed exchange rate, but it’s still lower than without credit constraints.
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