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Author:Amador, Manuel 

Working Paper
Efficient expropriation: sustainable fiscal policy in a small open economy
We study a small open economy characterized by two empirically important frictions? incomplete financial markets and an inability of the government to commit to policy. We characterize the best sustainable fiscal policy and show that it can amplify and prolong shocks to output. In particular, even when the government is completely benevolent, the government?s credibility not to expropriate capital varies endogenously with the state of the economy and may be ?scarcest? during recessions. This increased threat of expropriation depresses investment, prolonging downturns. It is the incompleteness of financial markets and the lack of commitment that generate investment cycles even in an environment where first-best capital stock is constant.
AUTHORS: Gopinath, Gita; Aguiar, Mark; Amador, Manuel
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Exchange Rate Policies at the Zero Lower Bound
We study how a monetary authority pursues an exchange rate objective in an environment that features a zero lower bound (ZLB) constraint on nominal interest rates and limits to international arbitrage. If the nominal interest rate that is consistent with interest rate parity is positive, the central bank can achieve its exchange rate objective by choosing that interest rate, a well-known result in international ?nance. However, if the rate consistent with parity is negative, pursuing an exchange rate objective necessarily results in zero nominal interest rates, deviations from parity, capital in?ows, and welfare costs associated with the accumulation of foreign reserves by the central bank. In this latter case, all changes in external conditions that increase in?ows of capital toward the country are detrimental, while policies such as negative nominal interest rates or capital controls can reduce the costs associated with an exchange rate policy. We provide a simple way of measuring these costs, and present empirical support for the key implications of our framework: when interest rates are close to zero, violations in covered interest parity are more likely, and those violations are associated with reserve accumulation by central banks.
AUTHORS: Bianchi, Javier; Bocola, Luigi; Amador, Manuel; Perri, Fabrizio
DATE: 2017-03-16

Report
Coordination and Crisis in Monetary Unions
We study fiscal and monetary policy in a monetary union with the potential for rollover crises in sovereign debt markets. Member-country fiscal authorities lack commitment to repay their debt and choose fiscal policy independently. A common monetary authority chooses inflation for the union, also without commitment. We first describe the existence of a fiscal externality that arises in the presence of limited commitment and leads countries to over-borrow; this externality rationalizes the imposition of debt ceilings in a monetary union. We then investigate the impact of the composition of debt in a monetary union, that is the fraction of high-debt versus low-debt members, on the occurrence of self-fulfilling debt crises. We demonstrate that a high-debt country may be less vulnerable to crises and have higher welfare when it belongs to a union with an intermediate mix of high- and low-debt members, than one where all other members are low-debt. This contrasts with the conventional wisdom that all countries should prefer a union with low-debt members, as such a union can credibly deliver low inflation. These findings shed new light on the criteria for an optimal currency area in the presence of rollover crises.
AUTHORS: Amador, Manuel; Farhi, Emmanuel; Gopinath, Gita; Aguiar, Mark
DATE: 2015-05-11

Report
Reverse Speculative Attacks
In January 2015, in the face of sustained capital inflows, the Swiss National Bank abandoned the floor for the Swiss Franc against the Euro, a decision which led to the appreciation of the Swiss Franc. The objective of this paper is to present a simple framework that helps to better understand the timing of this episode, which we label a ?reverse speculative attack?. We model a central bank which wishes to maintain a peg, and responds to increases in demand for domestic currency by expanding its balance sheet. In contrast to the classic speculative attacks, which are triggered by the depletion of foreign assets, reverse attacks are triggered by the concern of future balance sheet losses. Our key result is that the interaction between the desire to maintain the peg and the concern about future losses, can lead the central bank to first accumulate a large amount of reserves, and then to abandon the peg, just as we have observed in the Swiss case.
AUTHORS: Perri, Fabrizio; Bocola, Luigi; Amador, Manuel; Bianchi, Javier
DATE: 2016-05-24

Report
Self-Fulfilling Debt Dilution: Maturity and Multiplicity in Debt Models
We establish that creditor beliefs regarding future borrowing can be self-fulfilling, leading to multiple equilibria with markedly different debt accumulation patterns. We characterize such indeterminacy in the Eaton-Gersovitz sovereign debt model augmented with long maturity bonds. Two necessary conditions for the multiplicity are: (i) the government is more impatient than foreign creditors, and (ii) there are deadweight losses from default; both are realistic and standard assumptions in the quantitative literature. The multiplicity is dynamic and stems from the self-fulfilling beliefs of how future creditors will price bonds; long maturity bonds are therefore a crucial component of the multiplicity. We introduce a third party with deep pockets to discuss the policy implications of this source of multiplicity and identify the potentially perverse consequences of traditional ?lender of last resort? policies.
AUTHORS: Aguiar, Mark; Amador, Manuel
DATE: 2018-05-30

Report
Reputation and Sovereign Default
This paper presents a continuous-time model of sovereign debt. In it, a relatively impatient sovereign government?s hidden type switches back and forth between a commitment type, which cannot default, and an optimizing type, which can default on the country?s debt at any time, and assume outside lenders have particular beliefs regarding how a commitment type should borrow for any given level of debt and bond price. We show that if these beliefs satisfy reasonable assumptions, in any Markov equilibrium, the optimizing type mimics the commitment type when borrowing, revealing its type only by defaulting on its debt at random times. Further, in such Markov equilibria (the solution to a simple pair of ordinary differential equations), there are positive gross issuances at all dates, constant net imports as long as there is a positive equilibrium probability that the government is the optimizing type, and net debt repayment only by the commitment type. For countries that have recently defaulted, the interest rate the country pays on its debt is a decreasing function of the amount of time since its last default, and its total debt is an increasing function of the amount of time since its last default. For countries that have not recently defaulted, interest rates are constant.
AUTHORS: Amador, Manuel; Phelan, Christopher
DATE: 2018-05-30

Report
Fiscal Policy in Debt Constrained Economies
We study optimal fiscal policy in a small open economy (SOE) with sovereign and private default risk and limited commitment to tax plans. The SOE's government uses linear taxation to fund exogenous expenditures and uses public debt to inter-temporally allocate tax distortions. We characterize a class of environments in which the tax on labor goes to zero in the long run, while the tax on capital income may be non-zero, reversing the standard prediction of the Ramsey tax literature. The zero labor tax is an optimal long run outcome if the economy is subject to sovereign debt constraints and the domestic households are impatient relative to the international interest rate. The front loading of tax distortions allows the economy to build a large (aggregate) debt position in the presence of limited commitment. We show that a similar result holds in a closed economy with imperfect inter-generational altruism, providing a link with the closed-economy literature that has explored disagreement between the government and its citizens regarding inter-temporal tradeoffs.
AUTHORS: Aguiar, Mark; Amador, Manuel
DATE: 2015-10-16

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