Addicted to Dollars

67 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2003

See all articles by Carmen M. Reinhart

Carmen M. Reinhart

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kenneth Rogoff

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Miguel A. Savastano

Monetary and Capital Markets Departrment

Date Written: October 2003

Abstract

Dollarization, in a broad sense, is increasingly a defining characteristic of many emerging market economies. How important is this trend quantitatively and how important is it for the conduct of monetary policy and the choice of exchange rate regimes? Though these questions have become a hot topic in both the theory and policy literature, most efforts are remarkably uninformed by evidence, in no small part because meaningful data has been lacking, except for a very narrow range of assets. This paper attempts to move the discussion forward and shed light on the critical questions by proposing a measure of dollarization that is broad both conceptually and in terms of country coverage. We use this measure to identify trends in the evolution of dollarization in the developing world in the last two decades, and to ascertain the consequences that dollarization has had on the effectiveness of monetary and exchange rate policy. We find that, contrary to the general presumption in the literature, a high degree of dollarization does not seem to be an obstacle to monetary control or to disinflation. A level of dollarization does, however, appear to increase exchange rate pass-through, reinforcing the claim that fear of floating' is a greater problem for highly dollarized economies. We also review the developing countries' record in combating their addiction to dollars. Concretely, we try to explain why some countries have been able to avoid certain forms of the addiction, and examine the evidence on successful de-dollarization.

Suggested Citation

Reinhart, Carmen M. and Rogoff, Kenneth S. and Savastano, Miguel A., Addicted to Dollars (October 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w10015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=453809

Carmen M. Reinhart (Contact Author)

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Kenneth S. Rogoff

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Room 232
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-4022 (Phone)
617-495-7730 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Miguel A. Savastano

Monetary and Capital Markets Departrment ( email )

700 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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