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Monetary arrangements for emerging economies

Rafael Santos (), Aloisio Araujo and Marcia Leon

No 652, FGV EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) from EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil)

Abstract: In this paper we look at various alternatives for monetary regimes: dollarization, monetary union and local currency. We use an extension of the debt crisis model of Cole and Kehoe ([3], [4] and [5]), although we do not necessarily follow their sunspot interpretation. Our focus is to appraise the welfare of a country which is heavily dependent on international capital due to low savings, for example, and might suffer a speculative attack on its external public debt. We study the conditions under which countries will be better off adopting each one of the regimes described above. If it belongs to a monetary union or to a local currency regime, a default may be avoided by an ination tax on debt denominated in common or local currency, respectively. Under the former regime, the decision to inate depends on each member country's political inuence over the union's central bank, while, in the latter one, the country has full autonomy to decide about its monetary policy. The possibility that the government inuences the central bank to create ination tax for political reasons adversely affects the expected welfare of both regimes. Under dollarization, ination is ruled out and the country that is subject to an external debt crisis has no other option than to default. Accordingly, one of our main results is that shared ination control strengthens currencies and a common-currency regime is superior in terms of expected welfare to the local-currency one and to dollarization if external shocks that member countries suffer are strongly correlated to each other. On the other hand, dollarization is dominant if the room for political ination under the alternative regime is high. Finally, local currency is dominant if external shocks are uncorrelated and the room for political pressure is mild. We nish by comparing Brazil's and Argentina's recent experiences which resemble the dollarization and the local currency regimes, and appraising the incentives that member countries would have to unify their currencies in the following common markets: Southern Common Market, Andean Community of Nations and Central American Common Market.

Date: 2007-09-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cba, nep-mac and nep-mon
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