This special issue brings together world-renowned experts to provide a systematic and critical analysis of the costs and benefits of financial globalization. Contributors include Kenneth Rogoff, Maurice Obstfeld, Dani Rodrik, and Frederic S. Mishkin.
This paper examines contractionary currency crashes in developing countries. It explores the causes of India’s productivity surge around 1980, more than a decade before serious economic reforms were initiated. The paper finds evidence that the trigger may have been an attitudinal shift by the government in the early 1980s that, unlike the reforms of the 1990s, was pro-business rather than pro-market in character, favoring the interests of existing businesses rather than new entrants or consumers. A relatively small shift elicited a large productivity response, because India was far away from its income possibility frontier.
This paper empirically investigates the monetary impact of banking crises in Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and Uruguay during 1975–98. Cointegration analysis and error correction modeling are used to research two issues: (i) whether money demand stability is threatened by banking crises; and (ii) whether crises lead to structural breaks in the relation between monetary indicators and prices. Overall, no systematic evidence that banking crises cause money demand instability is found. The paper also analyzes inflation targeting in the context of the IMF-supported adjustment programs.
The Chilean pension reform of 1981, a shift from cm unfunded to a funded scheme, is considered to have contributed to this country’s excellent economic performance. Positive growth effects allow, in principle, a Pareto-improving shift in pension financing. This paper highlights the theoretical underpinnings of the reform and presents empirical data and preliminary econometric testing of the conjectured reform effects on financial market developments, as well as the impact on total factor productivity. capital formation, and private saving. The empirical evidence is consistent with most but not all claims. In particular, the direct impact of the reform on saving was low, and initially even negative.
This paper focuses on exchange rate economics. Two main views of exchange rate determination have evolved since the early 1970s: the monetary approach to the exchange rate (in flexible-price, sticky-price, and real interest differential formulations); and the portfolio balance approach. In this paper, the literature on these views is surveyed, followed by a discussion of the empirical evidence and likely future developments in the area of exchange rate determination. The literature on foreign exchange market efficiency, exchange rates and “news,” and international parity conditions is also reviewed.
The proposal to set up an international debt facility to buy the debt of developing countries at a discount and then mark down its contractual value is analyzed. The paper considers the central question of how the debtor countries, creditor banks, and owners of the facility would be affected; in particular, what redistribution of gains and losses there would be among them. The “market price effect” and the “ceiling effect” are distinguished. A crucial consideration is whether debt retained by banks is subordinated to debt bought by the facility.
It has been argued that “buy-backs” and “debt-equity swaps” allow developing countries to benefit from market discounts on their external debt. It is argued here, however, that if such programs are expected to be successful in increasing the market value of remaining debt, they also lead to a roughly equivalent increase in prices at which a buy-back or debt-equity swap could be carried out.
The Mundell-Fleming model of international macroeconomic originated in the early 1960s and has been extended during the ensuing quarter century. This paper develops an exposition that integrates the various facets of the model and incorporates its extensions into a unified analytical framework. Attention is given to (1) the distinction between short-run and long-run effects of policies, (2) the implications of debt and tax financing of government expenditures, and (3) the role of the exchange rate regime in this regard. By identifying the key mechanisms operating in the model, the exposition clarifies the model’s limitations and facilitates comparison with other, more current approaches.
This paper illustrates the important consequences of the choice of reserve assets. It considers hypothetical international reserve systems based on gold, on one or several national currencies, on an international financial asset that is not a national currency, and on a combination of these assets. The functioning and macroeconomic consequences of these reserve systems depend very much on the predominant exchange rate regime and on the flexibility of countries' prices and wages. The paper concludes that, because a considerable degree of exchange rate flexibility must be expected for some time to come, a gold-standard system does not offer a viable solution and should be ruled out. Under managed floating, with wages and prices inflexible downward, regulation of the amount of reserve creation, either through appropriately functioning market forces or through international surveillance, could make an important contribution to international economic stability. The patterns of private holding and use of historical reserve assets raise the question of whether there can be an important role for the special drawing rights in a future reserve system as long as its potential as a private asset remains undeveloped.