Hoarding international reserves versus a Pigovian tax-cum-subsidy scheme: Reflections on the deleveraging crisis of 2008-9, and a cost benefit analysis
In this paper we outline a Pigovian tax-cum-subsidy scheme that deals with concerns about the costs and efficacy of hoarding international reserves (IR) as a means of self-insurance against a deleveraging crisis. We overview the degree to which IR provided self-insurance to Emerging Markets (EMs) during the 2008-9 crisis, pointing out that the fear of losing IR constrained the use of a pre-crisis IR war-chest. The crisis validates the need for external debt management policy. EMs found that their initial large stocks of IR were not enough to prevent runs on their IR and large currency ...
Sterilization, monetary policy, and global financial integration
This paper investigates the changing pattern and efficacy of sterilization within emerging market countries as they liberalize markets and integrate with the world economy. We estimate the marginal propensity to sterilize foreign asset accumulation associated with net balance of payments inflows, across countries and over time. We find that the extent of sterilization of foreign reserve inflows has risen in recent years to varying degrees in Asia as well as in Latin America, consistent with greater concerns about the potential inflationary impact of reserve inflows. We also find that ...
The high demand for international reserves in the Far East: what's going on?
This paper explores econometric and theoretical interpretations for the relatively high demand for international reserves by countries in the Far East and the relatively low demand by some other developing countries. Using a sample of about 125 developing countries, we show that reserve holdings over the 1980-1996 period seem to be the predictable outcome of a few key factors, such as the size of international transactions, their volatility, the exchange-rate arrangement, and political considerations. The estimating equation also does a good job of predicting reserve holdings in Asia before ...
International reserves: precautionary versus mercantilist views, theory and evidence
This paper tests the importance of precautionary and mercantilist motives in accounting for the hoarding of international reserves by developing countries, and provides a model that quantifies the welfare gains from optimal management of international reserves. While the variables associated with the mercantilist motive are statistically significant, their economic importance in accounting for reserve hoarding is close to zero and is dwarfed by other variables. Overall, the empirical results are in line with the precautionary demand. The effects of financial crises have been localized, ...
Foreign exchange reserves in East Asia: why the high demand?
Pegged exchange rate regimes -- a trap?
This paper studies the empirical and theoretical association between the duration of a pegged exchange rate and the cost experienced upon exiting the regime. We confirm empirically that exits from pegged exchange rate regimes during the past two decades have often been accompanied by crises, the cost of which increases with the duration of the peg before the crisis. We explain these observations in a framework in which the exchange rate peg is used as a commitment mechanism to achieve inflation stability, but multiple equilibria are possible. We show that there are ex ante large gains from ...
Fiscal Stimulus and Commercial Bank Lending Under COVID-19
We investigate the implications of extra-normal government spending under the COVID-19 pandemic for commercial bank lending growth between 2019Q4 and 2020Q4 in a large sample of over 3000 banks from 71 countries. We control for pre-pandemic structural factors, bank characteristics and government debt. To address the likely endogeneity of government assistance under the pandemic, we instrument for extra-normal spending using disparities in pre-existing national political characteristics for identification. Our results indicate that while higher government spending was associated with higher ...
Financial liberalization: how well has it worked for developing countries?
This Economic Letter gives a summary of another analysis of the impact of financial liberalization on the economic performance of developing countries from 1991 to 2001. It describes a new and simple method that measures the degree of international capital mobility and that also provides useful information about the degree to which a nation's domestic stock of capital is self-financed.
Sovereign wealth funds: stumbling blocks or stepping stones to financial globalization?
Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are saving funds controlled by sovereign governments that hold and manage foreign assets. Private analysts put current sovereign wealth fund assets in the range of $1.5 to 2.5 trillion. This amount is projected to grow sevenfold to $15 trillion in the next ten years, an amount larger than the current global stock of foreign reserves of about $5 trillion (Jen 2007). While not a new phenomenon, the recent activities and projected growth of SWFs have stirred debate about the extent to which their size may allow them to destabilize financial markets and their ...
This paper identifies factors associated with takeoff--a sustained period of high growth following a period of stagnation. We examine a panel of 241 "stagnation episodes" from 146 countries, 54% of these episodes are followed by takeoffs. Countries that experience takeoffs average 2.3% annual growth following their stagnation episodes, while those that do not average 0% growth; 46% of the takeoffs are "sustained," i.e. lasting 8 years or longer. Using probit estimation, we find that de jure trade openness is positively and significantly associated with takeoffs. A one standard deviation ...