The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy in Latin America: An Analytical Overview
24 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2011
Date Written: October 2000
Exchange rates have been central to the course of economic development in Latin America for decades. From the heyday of import substitution in the 1960s to the rapid expansion of foreign debt in the 1970s, from the debt crisis and its troubled aftermath in the 1980s to the rekindling of growth and borrowing in the 1990s, the exchange rate has been crucial to the mix of government policies that has shaped the region. Indeed, many analysts regard exchange rate policy as a major determinant of other economic outcomes, such as adjustment to the oil shocks of the 1970s and the debt crisis of the 1980s (Sachs, 1985). And currency policies have themselves been at the center of some of the region s most prominent economic processes and events, such as liberalizing reforms in the Southern Cone between 1976 and 1982, the Mexican crises of 1982 and 1994, Argentina s adoption of a currency board in 1991, Brazil s 1999 currency crisis, and ongoing discussions of dollarization.
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