Classifying exchange rate regimes: deeds vs. words
Levy Yeyati, Eduardo
Most of the empirical literature on exchange rate regimes uses the IMF de jure classification based on the regime announced by the governments, despite the recognized inconsistencies between reported and actual policies in many cases. To address this problem, we construct a de facto classification based on data on exchange rates and international reserves from all IMF-reporting countries over the period 1974-2000, which we believe provides a meaningful alternative for future empirical work on the topic. The classification sheds new light on several stylized facts previously reported in the literature. In particular, we find that the de facto pegs have remained stable throughout the last decade, although an increasing number of them shy away from an explicit commitment to a fixed regime, a phenomenon we call “fear of pegging.” We confirm the hollowing out hypothesis and show that, as expected, it does not apply to countries with limited access to capital markets. We also find that pure floats are associated with only relatively minor nominal exchange rate volatility and that the recent increase in the number of de jure floats goes hand in hand with an increase in the number of de facto dirty floats (“fear of floating”).
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