This paper assesses the stabilization properties of fixed versus flexible exchange rate regimes and aims to answer this research question: Does greater exchange rate flexibility help an economy’s adjustment to weather shocks? To address this question, the impact of weather shocks on real per capita GDP growth is quantified under the two alternative exchange rate regimes. We find that although weather shocks are generally detrimental to per capita income growth, the impact is less severe under flexible exchange rate regimes. Moreover, the medium-term adverse growth impact of a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature under a pegged regime is about –1.4 percentage points on average, while under a flexible regime, the impact is less than one half that amount (–0.6 percentage point). This finding bolsters the idea that exchange rate flexibility not only helps mitigate the initial impact of the shock but also promotes a faster recovery. In terms of mechanisms, our findings suggest that the depreciation of the nominal exchange rate under a flexible regime supports real export growth. In contrast to standard theoretical predictions, we find that countercyclical fiscal policy may not be effective under pegged regimes amid high debt, highlighting the importance of the policy mix and precautionary (fiscal) buffers.
Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Mr. Yasser Abdih, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Vahram Stepanyan, Abdullah Al-Hassan, Gareth Anderson, Ms. Anja Baum, Mr. Sergejs Saksonovs, Lamiae Agoumi, Chen Chen, Mehdi Benatiya Andaloussi, Sahra Sakha, Faten Saliba, and Jesus Sanchez
Climate change is among humanity’s greatest challenges, and the Middle East and Central Asia region is on the frontlines of its human, economic, and physical ramifications. Much of the region is located in already difficult climate zones, where global warming exacerbates desertification, water stress, and rising sea levels. This trend entails fundamental economic disruptions, endangers food security, and undermines public health, with ripple effects on poverty and inequality, displacement, and conflict. Considering the risks posed by climate change, the central message of this departmental paper is that adapting to climate change by boosting resilience to climate stresses and disasters is a critical priority for the region’s economies.