Although the theoretical relationships are ambiguous, evidence suggestsa strong link between the choice of the exchange rate regime and economicperformance. the paper argues that adopting a pegged exchange rate canlead to lower inflation, but also to slower growth in productivity. Itfinds that on average per capita GDP growth was slightly faster underfloating regimes than under pegged exchange regimes.
Following very high inflation rates at the beginning of the reform process, most transition countries have succeeded in lowering their inflation to more moderate rates. Inflation rates in the Baltics, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union are now typically in the range of 10–60 percent. This essay examines whether a further reduction in inflation may be necessary. It concludes that low inflation may be important for achieving remonetization of the economy and sustained output growth.
This paper investigates why controls on capital inflows have a bad name, and evoke such visceral opposition, by tracing how capital controls have been used and perceived, since the late nineteenth century. While advanced countries often employed capital controls to tame speculative inflows during the last century, we conjecture that several factors undermined their subsequent use as prudential tools. First, it appears that inflow controls became inextricably linked with outflow controls. The latter have typically been more pervasive, more stringent, and more linked to autocratic regimes, failed macroeconomic policies, and financial crisis—inflow controls are thus damned by this “guilt by association.” Second, capital account restrictions often tend to be associated with current account restrictions. As countries aspired to achieve greater trade integration, capital controls came to be viewed as incompatible with free trade. Third, as policy activism of the 1970s gave way to the free market ideology of the 1980s and 1990s, the use of capital controls, even on inflows and for prudential purposes, fell into disrepute.
The growing integration of world capital markets has made it fashionable to argue that only extreme exchange rate regimes are sustainable. Short of adopting a common currency, currency board arrangements represent the most extreme form of exchange rate peg. This paper compares the macroeconomic performance of countries with currency boards to those with other forms of pegged exchange rate regime. Currency boards are indeed associated with better inflation performance, even allowing for potential endogeneity of the choice of regime. Perhaps more surprisingly, this better inflation performance is accompanied by higher output growth.
We develop an overlapping generations model of a developing economy in which ‘culture’ and technology interact to determine savings, investment and growth. Investment is assumed to involve intermediation or other costs which may, in each period, result in either of two stable equilibria for the savings rate. At the “good” equilibrium, savings and growth are higher than at the “bad” equilibrium, whether the country attains the good or bad equilibrium in any period depends on each individual’s belief about the savings behavior of other agents in the economy. The model implies that fiscal policy or public activities to facilitate private investment can influence saving. In particular, a sustained period of fiscal restraint can shift the economy onto a higher savings and growth path.
The global financial crisis and the ensuing Great Recession raised concerns about adjustment fatigue, deflation, currency wars, and secular stagnation that presented a sense of déjà vu: similar concerns had arisen at the time of the Great Depression and at the end of World War II. As with earlier crises, these concerns prompted calls for greater international policy cooperation—both to achieve a sustainable recovery from the crisis and to prevent future crises. This volume compiles papers from a 2015 symposium of eminent scholars convened by the IMF to discuss how history can inform current debates about the functioning and challenges of the international monetary system. An introductory chapter sets the stage for the other chapters in the volume by giving a broad overview of the performance of the international monetary system over the past century, highlighting the key events and challenges that shaped it. Subsequent sections look at historical antecedents of today’s challenges, describe how the modern international monetary system has been—and continues to be—shaped through international financial diplomacy, provide a present-day perspective, and examine the analytics of international policy coordination.
In bilateral and multilateral surveillance, countries are often urged to consider alternative policies that would result in superior outcomes for the country itself and, perhaps serendipitously, for the world economy. While it is possible that policy makers in the country do not fully recognize the benefits of proposed alternative policies, it is also possible that the existing policies are the best that they can deliver, given their various constraints, including political. In order for the policy makers to be able and willing to implement the better policies some quid pro quo may be required—such as a favorable policy adjustment in the recipients of the spillovers; identifying such mutually beneficial trades is the essence of international policy coordination. We see four general guideposts in terms of the search for globally desirable solutions. First, all parties need to identify the nature of spillovers from their policies and be open to making adjustments to enhance net positive spillovers in exchange for commensurate benefits from others; but second, with countries transparent about the spillovers as they see them, an honest broker is likely to be needed to scrutinize the different positions, given the inherent biases at the country level. Third, given the need for policy agendas to be multilaterally consistent, special scrutiny is needed when policies exacerbate global imbalances and currency misalignments; and fourth, by the same token, special scrutiny is also needed when one country’s policies has a perceptible adverse impact on financial-stability risks elsewhere.
Although few would doubt that very high inflation is bad for growth, there is much less agreement about moderate inflation’s effects. Using panel regressions and a nonlinear specification, this paper finds a statistically and economically significant negative relationship between inflation and growth. This relationship holds at all but the lowest inflation rates and is robust across various samples and specifications. The method of binary recursive trees identifies inflation as one the most important statistical determinants of growth. Finally, while there are short-run growth costs of disinflation, these are only relevant for the most severe disinflations, or when the initial inflation rate is well within the single-digit range.
Sharp exchange rate depreciations in the East Asian crisis countries (Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand) raised doubts about the efficacy of increasing interest rates to defend the currency. Using a standard monetary model of exchange rate determination, this paper shows that tighter monetary policy was in fact associated with an appreciation of the exchange rate. Moreover, there is little evidence of higher real interest rates contributing to a widening of the risk premium.
This paper uses a disequilibrium framework to investigate a possible credit crunch in the East Asian crisis countries (Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand) during 1997-98. It defines a credit crunch as a situation in which interest rates do not equilibrate supply and demand for credit and the aggregate amount is supply constrained, i.e. there is quantity rationing. In all three countries, rising real interest rates and weakening economic activity lowered credit demand and (with the exception of Indonesia in late 1997) there is little evidence of quantity rationing at the aggregate level—although individual firms may have lost access to credit.