NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Monetary Policy in Emerging Markets: A Survey

Jeffrey A. Frankel

NBER Working Paper No. 16125
Issued in June 2010
NBER Program(s):   IFM

The characteristics that distinguish most developing countries, compared to large industrialized countries, include: greater exposure to supply shocks in general and trade volatility in particular, procyclicality of both domestic fiscal policy and international finance, lower credibility with respect to both price stability and default risk, and other imperfect institutions. These characteristics warrant appropriate models.

Models of dynamic inconsistency in monetary policy and the need for central bank independence and commitment to nominal targets apply even more strongly to developing countries. But because most developing countries are price-takers on world markets, the small open economy model, with nontraded goods, is often more useful than the two-country two-good model. Contractionary effects of devaluation are also far more important for developing countries, particularly the balance sheet effects that arise from currency mismatch. The exchange rate was the favored nominal anchor for monetary policy in inflation stabilizations of the late 1980s and early 1990s. After the currency crises of 1994-2001, the conventional wisdom anointed Inflation Targeting as the preferred monetary regime in place of exchange rate targets. But events associated with the global crisis of 2007-09 have revealed limitations to the choice of CPI for the role of price index.

The participation of emerging markets in global finance is a major reason why they have by now earned their own large body of research, but it also means that they remain highly prone to problems of asymmetric information, illiquidity, default risk, moral hazard and imperfect institutions. Many of the models designed to fit emerging market countries were built around such financial market imperfections; few economists thought this inappropriate. With the global crisis of 2007-09, the tables have turned: economists should now consider drawing on the models of emerging market crises to try to understand the unexpected imperfections and failures of advanced-country financial markets.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16125

Published: “ Monetary Policy in Emerging Markets ,” Handbook of Moneta ry Economics , edited by Benjamin Friedman and Michael Woodford (North Holland : The Netherlands ) , vol.3B, 201 1, pp.14 39 - 15 2 0 . NBER W orking P aper No. 16125 .

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