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Exchange Rates and Fiscal Adjustments: Evidence from the OECD and Implications for EMU

Luisa Lambertini () and Jose Tavares ()

FEUNL Working Paper Series from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia

Abstract: This paper characterizes monetary and exchange-rate policies during successful and unsuccessful fiscal adjustments by analyzing the OECD economies over the period 1970 to 1998. We find that successful adjustments are almost always preceded by large nominal and real exchange rate depreciations while unsuccessful adjustments are preceded by revaluations and followed by depreciations. The extreme adjustments of Ireland and Denmark in the 1990s fit this pattern of depreciation for success very closely. Early depreciation is a significant and quantitatively important predictor of the persistence of adjustment: each 1 percent of depreciation in the two years preceding a fiscal adjustment leads to approximately 2 percent increase in the probability of success. Since the size of the typical pre-adjustment depreciation is 5%, this is an important effect. When compared to an indicator of the composition of the fiscal adjustment, the reliance on spending cuts, the two variables have similar quantitative impacts on the likelihood of persistence. Our results are robust to alternative definitions of the depreciation period, the persistence of the adjustment, and whether we use effective, DM or US$ exchange rates. Monetary policy does not play a significant role in fiscal adjustments. Our results suggest that attaining persistent fiscal adjustment within EMU is likely to become a more costly endeavor than it was beforehand, as EMU members have adopted a single currency and therefore abandoned the use of exchange rate policies vis-`-vis each other.

Date: 2002
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Related works:
Journal Article: Exchange Rates and Fiscal Adjustments: Evidence from the OECD and Implications for the EMU (2005) Downloads
Working Paper: Exchange Rates and Fiscal Adjustments: Evidence from the OECD and Implications for EMU (2003) Downloads
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