NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Hoarding International Reserves Versus a Pigovian Tax-Cum-Subsidy Scheme: Reflections on the Deleveraging Crisis of 2008-9, and a Cost Benefit Analysis

Joshua Aizenman

NBER Working Paper No. 15484
Issued in November 2009
NBER Program(s):   ITI

We outline the case for supporting self-insurance by imposing a tax on external borrowing in a model of an emerging market. Entrepreneurs finance tangible investments via bank intermediation of foreign borrowing, exposing the economy to negative fire-sale externalities at times of deleveraging; a risk that increases with the ratio of aggregate external borrowing to international reserves. Price taking economic agents ignore their marginal impact on the expected cost of a deleveraging crisis. The optimal borrowing tax reduces the distorted activity, external borrowing, and induces borrowers to co-finance the precautionary hoarding of international reserves.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15484

Published: Joshua Aizenman, 2010. "Hoarding international reserves versus a Pigovian tax-cum-subsidy scheme: Reflections on the deleveraging crisis of 2008-9, and a cost benefit analysis," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct. citation courtesy of

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