Exchange Rates, Inflation and Disinflation: Latin American Experiences

Sebastian Edwards

NBER Working Paper No. 4320
Issued in April 1993
NBER Program(s):   IFM

This paper analyzes the relationship between exchange rates, inflation and disinflation in Latin America. The analysis concentrates on two central issues. First, the historical experience with fixed exchange rates in four Latin American countries is investigated. It is shown that even though these countries had the ability to undertake independent monetary policy, they chose to play by the "rules of the game". Until 1973, when the first oil shock took place, these countries strictly respected the constraints imposed by fixed exchange rates on their domestic credit policy. Between that date and the late 1980s, when the fixed rates were finally abandoned, they tried to ignore these constraints. This generated losses of reserves and increased inflation. The second issue addressed in the paper refers to the use of a nominal exchange rate anchor to reduce inflation. Data on Chile, Mexico and Venezuela are used to investigate the extent to which alternative exchange rate regimes affect inflationary inertia. It is found that fixing the exchange rate will not, on its own, reduce the degree of inertia.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4320

Published: Edwards, S. (ed.) Capital Controls, Exchange Rates and Monetary Policy in the World Economy. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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