Uncertainty and the disappearance of international credit
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, ...
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 ...
Military expenditure, threats, and growth
This paper clarifies one of the puzzling results of the economic growth literature: the impact of military expenditure is frequently found to be non-significant or negative, yet most countries spend a large fraction of their GDP on defense and the military. We start by empirical evaluation of the non- linear interactions between military expenditure, external threats, corruption, and other relevant controls. While growth falls with higher levels of military spending, given the values of the other independent variables, we show that military expenditure in the presence of threats increases ...
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 ...
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 ...
Institutional efficiency, monitoring costs, and the investment share of FDI
This paper models and tests the implications of institutional efficiency on the pattern of foreign direct investment (FDI). We posit that domestic agents have a comparative advantage over foreign agents in overcoming some of the obstacles associated with corruption and weak institutions. We model these circumstances in a principal-agent framework with costly ex-post monitoring and enforcement of an ex-ante labor contract. Ex-post monitoring and enforcement costs are assumed to be lower for domestic entrepreneurs than for foreign ones, but foreign producers enjoy a countervailing productivity ...
Sovereign wealth funds: stylized facts about their determinants and governance
This paper presents statistical analysis supporting stylized facts about sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). It discusses the forces leading to the growth of SWFs, including the role of fuel exports and ongoing current account surpluses, and large hoarding of international reserves. It analyzes the degree to which measures of SWF governance and transparency compare with national norms of behavior. We provide evidence that many countries with SWFs are characterized by effective governance but weak democratic institutions, as compared to other nonindustrial countries. We also present a model with ...
Asset class diversification and delegation of responsibilities between central banks and sovereign wealth funds
This paper presents a model comparing the optimal degree of asset class diversification abroad by a central bank and a sovereign wealth fund. We show that if the central bank manages its foreign asset holdings in order to meet balance of payments needs, particularly in reducing the probability of sudden stops in foreign capital inflows, it will place a high weight on holding safer foreign assets. In contrast, if the sovereign wealth fund, acting on behalf of the Treasury, maximizes the expected utility of a representative domestic agent, it will opt for relatively greater holding of more ...