This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the attractions and disadvantages of currency board arrangements in their various institutional configurations. It asks what defines a currency board arrangement, what are their strengths and weaknesses, and what constraints they place on macroeconomic policies. It also reviews country experiences with these arrangements.
This paper discusses some of the issues that concern the operation of currency boards, by comparison to conventional exchange rate pegs, and looks at the experiences of three examples of this type of arrangement: Argentina (from 1991), Hong Kong (from 1983) and Estonia (from 1992). In all three cases, the implementation of currency boards or equivalent arrangements played a significant role in their successful stabilization programs. Currency boards derive their strength from the fact that they severely constrain the policy maker’s room for manoeuvre, by comparison to conventional pegs. They generally require an even stricter and less forgiving attitude to bank failure, wage and price rigidities and other disturbances than do exchange rate pegs in general. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the international Monetary Fund mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.
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This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix analyzes the progress made by Estonia since independence. It takes stock of the developments in the banking system and describes how the number of banks in Estonia has been reduced through a series of bankruptcies and mergers from 41 in 1992 to 5 by end 1998. The paper explores nonbank financial sector developments. The paper also describes a composite index of coincidence indicators and tests how well it has tracked recent developments in Estonia.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the economic recovery in Estonia that began in 1994 and accelerated in 1995, highlighting the extent to which the pattern of production has changed since the beginning of the transition in 1992, the factors that made the decline in output inevitable early on, and the sound policies that made an early recovery possible. The paper lists the policy requisites to maintain, and indeed strengthen, the growth momentum. The paper also analyzes Estonia’s experience with declining but persisting inflation since the introduction of the currency board in 1992.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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Currency boards operate differently from standard pegs. The former exhibit greater currency stability and lower transaction costs, inflation, and nominal interest rates, but are limited in their use of devaluation. We extend Drazen and Masson’s (1994) signaling model to consider the choice between currency board arrangements and standard pegs. The model shows that currency boards’ effectiveness hinges on their credibility properties and that they can improve welfare even with high unemployment persistence. By reducing expected inflation and the negative employment effect arising from expected but unrealized inflation, currency boards can produce less unemployment than peg regimes that abstain from devaluation.
This paper proposes a new taxonomy of monetary regimes defined by the choice and clarity of the nominal anchor. The regimes are as follows: (i) monetary nonautonomy, (ii) weak anchor, (iii) money anchor, (iv) exchange rate peg, (v) full-fledged inflation targeting, (vi) implicit price stability anchor, and (vii) inflation targeting lite. This taxonomy captures the commitment-discretion tradeoffs that lie at the heart of choosing a monetary regime. During the last 15 years the world has moved toward monetary regimes with less discretion. Empirical analysis suggests that country regime choices reflect the level of financial and economic development and recent inflation history.