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By Guillermo E. Perry, Guillermo A. Calvo, W. Max Corden, Stanley Fischer, Alan Walters, John Williamson

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Additional info for Currency boards and external shocks: how much pain, how much gain?

Sample text

Therefore, at the end of the road, you may find yourself with the same problems still there in spite of the imposition of trade taxes and subsidies. But you do have some breathing space. I mention this as the last resort, not the firstas something you could do if the only alternative were a nominal devaluation. Finally, let me say something about the credit squeeze in Argentina. You hear a lot about that, partly as a result of the fall in the demand for deposits, which dropped by about 18 percent in the first half of 1995.

Perhaps other speakers will address the question whether a change in policy could give countries more protection against being cut off by the foreign banks than Argentina found it had last year. For those reasons I concluded in a study I did last year 6 that currency boards might make sense for small, highly open economies, but that they were a doubtful proposition for relatively large economies. I also noted that there might be exceptional circumstances that could justify the adoption of a currency board in a relatively large economy.

The transparency of the fixed exchange rate as a nominal anchor and the loss of monetary policy flexibility enhance the anti-inflation credibility of policy-makers. Currency boards also impose fiscal discipline because expenditures cannot be financed by printing money. However, it is also clear that in the event of negative external shocks, the loss in flexibility that a currency-board regime entails may pose threats to the stability of the financial sector and can be very costly in terms of forgone output and employment.

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