Drawing on new data and advances in exchange rate regimes' classification, we find that countries appear to benefit by having increasingly flexible exchange rate systems as they become richer and more financially developed. For developing countries with little exposure to international capital markets, pegs are notable for their durability and relatively low inflation. In contrast, for advanced economies, floats are distinctly more durable and also appear to be associated with higher growth. For emerging markets, our results parallel the Baxter and Stockman classic exchange regime neutrality result, though pegs are the least durable and expose countries to higher risk of crisis.
The euro has had some marked successes over its first five years included the marked deepening of euro bond markets which has benefited the entire world. But at the same time, the pain has probably outweighed the gain as Europe still remains far from an optimal currency area.
Using recent advances in the classification of exchange rate regimes, this paper finds no support for the popular bipolar view that countries will tend over time to move to the polar extremes of free float or rigid peg. Rather, intermediate regimes have shown remarkable durability. The analysis suggests that as economies mature, the value of exchange rate flexibility rises. For countries at a relatively early stage of financial development and integration, fixed or relatively rigid regimes appear to offer some anti-inflation credibility gain without compromising growth objectives. As countries develop economically and institutionally, there appear to be considerable benefits to more flexible regimes. For developed countries that are not in a currency union, relatively flexible exchange rate regimes appear to offer higher growth without any cost in credibility.
We develop a novel system of re-classifying historical exchange rate regimes. One difference between our study and previous classification efforts is that we employ an extensive data base on market-determined parallel exchange rates. Our 'natural' classification algorithm leads to a stark reassessment of the post-war history of exchange rate arrangements. When the official categorization is a form of peg, roughly half the time our classification reveals the true underlying monetary regime to be something radically different, often a variant of a float. Conversely, when official classification is floating, our scheme routinely suggests that the reality was a form of de facto peg. Our new classification scheme points to a complete rethinking of economic performance under alternative exchange rate regimes. Indeed, the breakup of Bretton Woods had a far less dramatic impact on most exchange rate regimes than is popularly believed. Also, contrary to an influential empirical literature, our evidence suggests that exchange rate arraignments may be quite important for growth, trade and inflation. Our newly compiled monthly data set on market-determined exchange rates goes back to 1946 for 153 countries.
Reinhart, Carmen M, Kenneth Rogoff, and Miguel A Savastano. 2003. “Debt Intolerance.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 1: 1–74. Abstract
This paper introduces the concept of debt intolerance,' which manifests itself in the extreme duress many emerging markets experience at debt levels that would seem manageable by advanced country standards. We argue that safe' external debt-to-GNP thresholds for debt intolerant countries are low, perhaps as low as 15 percent in some cases. These thresholds depend on a country's default and inflation history. Debt intolerance is linked to the phenomenon of serial default that has plagued many countries over the past two centuries. Understanding and measuring debt intolerance is fundamental to assess the problems of debt sustainability, debt restructuring, capital market integration, and the scope for international lending to ameliorate crises. Our goal is to make a first pass at quantifying debt intolerance, including delineating debtors' clubs and regions of vulnerability, on the basis on a history of credit events going back to the 1820s for over 100 countries.
In recent years, many countries have instituted monetary reforms aimed at improving anti-inflation credibility. Is it a problem, however, that international welfare spillover effects seldom receive much consideration in the design of monetary reforms? Surprisingly, the answer may be no. Under plausible conditions, as domestic rules improve and international financial markets become more complete, the Nash and cooperative monetary rule setting games converge. We base our analysis on a utility-theoretic sticky-wage (new open economy macroeconomics) model; the question we pose simply could not have been adequately formulated using earlier models of monetary cooperation.
This paper develops an explicitly stochastic new open economy macroeconomics' model, which can potentially be used to explore the qualitative and quantitative welfare differences between alternative exchange rate regimes. A crucial feature is that we do not simplify by assuming certainty equivalence for producer price setting behavior. Our framework also provides a sticky-price alternative to Lucas's (1982) exchange rate risk premium model. We show that the level risk premium' in the exchage rate is potentially quite large and may be an important missing fundamental in empirical exchange rate equations. As a byproduct analysis also suggests an intriguing possible explanation of the forward premium puzzle.