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The Trilemma in History: Tradeoffs among Exchange Rates, Monetary Policies, and Capital Mobility

  • Maurice Obstfeld

    (Economics Department, University of California, Berkeley & NBER & CEPR)

  • Jay Shambaugh

    (Department of Economics, Dartmouth College)

  • Alan Taylor

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Davis & NBER & CEPR)

The exchange-rate regime is often seen as constrained by the monetary policy trilemma, which imposes a stark tradeoff among exchange stability, monetary independence, and capital market openness. Yet the trilemma has not gone without challenge. Some (e.g., Calvo and Reinhart 2001, 2002) argue that under the modern float there could be limited monetary autonomy. Others (e.g., Bordo and Flandreau 2003), that even under the classical gold standard domestic monetary autonomy was considerable. This paper studies the coherence of international interest rates over more than 130 years. The constraints implied by the trilemma are largely borne out by history.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series International Finance with number 0407003.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 07 Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpif:0407003
Note: 41 pages
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  1. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Working Papers 8584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Stanton, Richard, 1997. " A Nonparametric Model of Term Structure Dynamics and the Market Price of Interest Rate Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 1973-2002, December.
  7. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 1997. "The Great Depression as a Watershed: International Capital Mobility over the Long Run," NBER Working Papers 5960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Frankel, Jeffrey & Schmukler, Sergio & Serven, Luis, 2000. "Global transmission of interest rates : monetary independence and the currency regime," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2424, The World Bank.
  9. Paul R. Krugman, 1988. "Target Zones and Exchange Rate Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 2481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Larry D. Neal & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2003. "Crises in the Global Economy from Tulips to Today," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 473-514 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2002. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," NBER Working Papers 8963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Wu, Yangru & Zhang, Hua, 1997. " Do Interest Rates Follow Unit-Root Processes? Evidence from Cross-Maturity Treasury Bill Yields," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 69-81, January.
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  16. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1990. "The Term Structure of Interest Rate Differentials in a Target Zone: Theory and Swedish Data," NBER Working Papers 3374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "Globalization and Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 8846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Larry Neal & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2001. "Crises in The Global Economy from Tulips to Today: Contagion and Consequences," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2001-32, Claremont Colleges.
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  20. Thomas Philippon & Jeromin Zettelmeyer & Eduardo Borensztein, 2001. "Monetary Independence in Emerging Markets: Does the Exchange Rate Regime Make a Difference?," IMF Working Papers 01/1, International Monetary Fund.
  21. Serena Ng & Pierre Perron, 1997. "Lag Length Selection and the Construction of Unit Root Tests with Good Size and Power," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 369, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 Sep 2000.
  22. Levy-Yeyati, Eduardo & Sturzenegger, Federico, 2005. "Classifying exchange rate regimes: Deeds vs. words," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1603-1635, August.
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  25. Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "Explaining exchange rate volatility: an empirical analysis of 'the holy trinity' of monetary independence, fixed exchange rates, and capital mobility," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 925-945, December.
  26. Jay C. Shambaugh, 2004. "The Effect of Fixed Exchange Rates on Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 300-351, February.
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