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Tango with the Gringo: the hard peg and real misalignment in Argentina

  • Alberola, Enrique
  • Lopez, Humberto
  • Serven, Luis

Between 1990 and 2001 the Argentine peso appreciated by 80 percent in real terms, and its overvaluation has been singled out as one of the main suspects in the debate on the causes of the Argentina collapse of late 2001. This paper assesses the degree of real misalignment in Argentina over the Convertibility period using a model in which the equilibrium real exchange rate is defined as the value consistent with (i) a balance of payments position where any current account imbalance is financed by a sustainable flow of international capital (external equilibrium), and (ii) traded/nontraded sector productivity differentials (internal equilibrium). Empirical implementation of the model suggests that the initial real appreciation of the peso, between 1990 and 1993, was consistent with the productivity increases that Argentina enjoyed following the stabilization of the economy after the hyperinflation of the late 1980s. But after 1996 a widening gap opened between the observed real exchange rate and that consistent with a sustainable net foreign asset position. Our estimates indicate that in 2001 the peso was overvalued by over 50 percent. The model allows us to assess how much of the overvaluation resulted from Argentina's inadequate choice of anchor currency and how much from a divergence of fundamentals between the U.S. and Argentina, ultimately due to the maintenance of policies inconsistent with the peg. We find that both factors played a role in the overvaluation accumulated between 1977 and 2001 that preceded the collapse of the Convertibility regime.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3322.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3322
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  1. Ronald MacDonald & Tamim Bayoumi, 1998. "Deviations of Exchange Rates From Purchasing Power Parity: A Story Featuring Two Monetary Unions," IMF Working Papers 98/69, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Gonzalo, J. & Granger, C., 1992. "Estimation of Common Long-Memory Components in Cointegrated Systems," Papers 4, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  3. Susana Garcia Cervero & J. Humberto Lopez & Enrique Alberola Ila & Angel J. Ubide, 1999. "Global Equilibrium Exchange Rates: Euro, Dollar, "Ins," "Outs," and Other Major Currencies in a Panel Cointegration Framework," IMF Working Papers 99/175, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Krugman, Paul R., 1978. "Purchasing power parity and exchange rates : Another look at the evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 397-407, August.
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  7. Enrique Alberola & Humberto López, 2001. "Internal and external exchange rate equilibrium in a cointegration framework. An application to the Spanish peseta," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 23-40.
  8. Baffes, John & Elbadawi, Ibrahim A. & O'Connell, Stephen A., 1997. "Single-equation estimation of the equilibrium real exchange rate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1800, The World Bank.
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  11. Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi & Guillermo A. Calvo, 2002. "Sudden Stops, the Real Exchange Rate and Fiscal Sustainability: Argentina's Lessons," Research Department Publications 4299, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  12. Menzie D. Chinn, 1998. "Before the Fall: Were East Asian Currencies Overvalued?," NBER Working Papers 6491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ilan Goldfajn & Rodrigo Valdés, 1997. "The Aftermath of Appreciations," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 02, Central Bank of Chile.
  14. Genberg, Hans, 1978. "Purchasing power parity under fixed and flexible exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 247-276, May.
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