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IntroductionArguments for Flexible Exchange RatesArguments for Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)Slide 4Slide 5Slide 6Arguments Against Flexible Exchange RatesArguments Against Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)Slide 9Slide 10Slide 11Slide 12Slide 13Exchange Rate Experience Between the Oil Shocks, 1973-1980Disinflation, Growth, Crisis, and Recession, 1980-2008How the European Single Currency Evolved?What has been Learned Since 1973?Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-1Introduction•The Bretton Woods system collapsed in 1973 because central banks were unwilling to continue to buy over-valued dollar assets and to sell under-valued foreign currency assets.•Central banks thought they would stop trading in the foreign exchange for a while, and would let exchange rates adjust to supply and demand, and then would re-impose fixed exchange rates soon.•But no new global system of fixed rates was started again.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-2Arguments for Flexible Exchange Rates1. Monetary policy autonomyCentral banks are more free to influence the domestic money supply, interest rates and inflation.Central banks can more freely react to changes in aggregate demand, output and prices in order to achieve internal balance.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-3Arguments for Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)2. Automatic stabilizationFlexible exchange rates change the prices of a country’s products and help reduce “fundamental disequilibria”.Example: a shift in aggregate demand for a country’s products.Flexible exchange rates would automatically adjust to stabilize high or low aggregate demand and output, thereby keeping output closer to its normal level and also stabilizing price changes in the long run.Arguments for Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)Reduction in aggregatedemandDepreciationleads to higherdemand for and output of domestic productsFixed exchangerates mean outputfalls as much asthe initial fall in aggregate demandCopyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-5Arguments for Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)3. Flexible exchange rates may also prevent speculation in some cases.Fixed exchange rates are unsustainable if markets believe that the central bank does not have enough official international reserves.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-6Arguments for Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)4. Symmetry (not possible under Bretton Woods)The US is now allowed to adjust its exchange rate, like other countries.Other countries are allowed to adjust their money supplies for macroeconomic goals, like the US.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-7Arguments Against Flexible Exchange Rates1. Uncoordinated macroeconomic policies Flexible exchange rates lose the coordination of monetary polices through fixed exchange rates.a) Lack of coordination may cause “expenditure switching” policies: each country may want to maintain a low valued currency, so that aggregate demand is switched to domestic output at the expense of other economiesCopyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-8Arguments Against Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)b) Lack of coordination may cause volatility in national economies: because a large country’s fiscal and monetary policies affect other economies; aggregate demand, output and prices become more volatile across countries as policies diverge.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-9Arguments Against Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)2. Speculation and volatility in the foreign exchange market become worse, not better.If traders expect a currency to depreciate in the short run, they may quickly sell the currency to make a profit, even if it is not expected to depreciate in the long run. Expectations of depreciation lead to actual depreciation in the short run.Earlier we assumed that expectations do not change under temporary shocks to the economy, but this assumption is not valid if expectations change quickly in anticipation of even temporary economic changes.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-10Arguments Against Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)Such speculation tends to increase the fluctuations of exchange rates around their long run values, as currency traders quickly react to changing (interpretations of) economic news.In fact, volatility of exchange rates since 1973 has become larger.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-11Arguments Against Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)3. Reduction of trade and international investment caused by uncertainty about exchange rates.But precisely because of a desire to reduce this uncertainty, forward exchange rates and derivative assets were created to insure against exchange rate volatility.And international investment and trade have expanded since the Bretton Woods system was abandoned.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-12Arguments Against Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)4. Discipline: if central banks are tempted to enact inflationary monetary policies, adherence to a fixed exchange rates may force them not to print so much money.But the temptation may not go away: devaluation due to inflationary monetary policy may still be necessary.And inflation is contained in the country that creates it under flexible exchange rates: the US could no longer “export” inflation after 1973.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-13Arguments Against Flexible Exchange Rates (cont.)5. Illusion of greater monetary policy autonomy Central banks still need to intervene in the foreign exchange market because the exchange rate, like inflation, affects the economy a great deal.But for the US, exchange rate stability is usually considered less important by the Federal Reserve than price stability and output stability.Copyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-14Exchange Rate Experience Between the Oil Shocks, 1973-1980•Megan Garcia and Jessica HoferCopyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-15Disinflation, Growth, Crisis, and Recession, 1980-2008•Thomas WheatCopyright © 2006 Pearson Addison-Wesley. All rights reserved.19-16How the European Single Currency Evolved?•Ibrahim Kekec and Adam DangelmayrCopyright © 2006 Pearson


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