Dealing with the Trilemma: Optimal Capital Controls with Fixed Exchange Rates

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We consider a standard macroeconomic model of a small open economy with a fixed exchange rate and study optimal capital controls. We characterize their use in response to a variety of macroeconomic shocks. We show that capital controls are more effective when employed against transitory shocks and when the degree of openness (exports/GDP) is small. They are particularly effective at neutralizing risk-premium shocks that affect the interest rate differential. Although we focus on fixed exchange rates, we show that in some cases capital controls may be optimal even if the exchange rate is flexible. Finally, we compare the single country's optimum to a coordinated world solution. We find a limited need for coordination.

Last updated on 04/12/2013