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Black market premia, exchange rate unification, and inflation in sub-Saharan Africa

Author

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  • Pinto, Brian

Abstract

In countries where the black market premium on foreign exchange is exceptionally high, often more than 100 percent, lowering the black market rate to a level close to the market determined official rate will improve the balance of payments and increase exports. Floating the currency to depreciate the real exchange rate and make exports more competitive can raise inflation substantially, however, as governments replace the lost revenue from exports. Inflation will occur even if real government spending remains constant unless there are new taxes or spending cuts to compensate for the loss of implicit tax revenues. To avoid costly surges in inflation, exchange rate reform may have to proceed slowly, otherwise the depreciation is likely to meet with considerable political and social opposition as inflation rises. Once the government closes the spread between the official and black market rates, it faces a decision on whether to continue with a float permanently. Evidence from developing countries over the next few years should give some insights into this issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Pinto, Brian, 1988. "Black market premia, exchange rate unification, and inflation in sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 37, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:37
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1986. "Special Exchange Rates for Capital Account Transactions," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(1), pages 3-33, September.
    2. Calvo, Guillermo A & Rodriguez, Carlos Alfredo, 1977. "A Model of Exchange Rate Determination under Currency Substitution and Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 617-625, June.
    3. Lizondo, JoseSaul, 1987. "Exchange rate differential and balance of payments under dual exchange markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 37-53, June.
    4. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
    5. Sebastian Edwards & Sweder Van Wijnbergen, 1983. "The Welfare Effects of Trade and Capital Market Liberalization: Consequences of Different Sequencing Scenarios," UCLA Economics Working Papers 313, UCLA Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kemme, David M. & Roy, Saktinil, 2006. "Real exchange rate misalignment: Prelude to crisis?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 207-230, October.
    2. Aron, Janine & Elbadawi, Ibrahim A., 1992. "Parallel markets, the foreign exchange auction, and exchange rate unification in Zambia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 909, The World Bank.
    3. Shah, Anwar & Whalley, John, 1990. "An alternative view of tax incidence analysis for developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 462, The World Bank.
    4. Chamley, Christophe & Honohan, Patrick, 1990. "Taxation of financial intermediation : measurement principles and application to five African countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 421, The World Bank.

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