NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Sterilization and Offsetting Capital Movements: Evidence from West Germany, 1960-1970

Maurice Obstfeld

NBER Working Paper No. 494
Issued in June 1980
NBER Program(s):   ITI   IFM

The purpose of this paper is two fold. First, to estimate, using structural methods, the extent to which capital flows undermined West German monetary policy during the Bretton Woods years 1960 to 1970 and second, to show that earlier reduced form estimates of the capital-account offset coefficient are tainted by simultaneity bias thanks to the Deutsche Bundesbank's systematic policy of sterilization, and so overestimate the true coefficient. The paper distinguishes between the short-run or one-quarter offset coefficient and the long-run coefficient implied by the full adjustment of all asset markets. An aggregative structural model German financial markets yields short-run coefficients between .50 and .65implying substantial Bundesbank control over the monetary base, at least in the short-run. A formal test for simultaneous-equations bias provides evidence that variations in domestic credit cannot be regarded as exogenous and that equations regressing capital flows on changes in domestic credit and other variables exaggerate the extent of the offset.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0494

 
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