Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 2 No. 1 (Winter 1988)


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Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies for International Financial Stability: A Proposal

Article Citation

McKinnon, Ronald I. 1988. "Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies for International Financial Stability: A Proposal." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2(1): 83-103.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.2.1.83


What keeps the three major industrial blocs -- Western Europe, North America, and industrialized Asia -- from developing a common monetary standard to prevent exchange-rate fluctuations? One important reason is the differing theoretical perspectives of economic advisers. The first issue is whether or not a floating foreign exchange market -- where governments do not systematically target exchange rates -- is "efficient." Many economists believe that exchange risk can be effectively hedged in forward markets so international monetary reform is unnecessary. Second, after a decade and a half of unremitting turbulence in the foreign exchange markets, economists cannot agree on "equilibrium" or desirable official targets for exchange rates if they were to be stabilized. The contending principles of purchasing power parity and of balanced trade yield very different estimates for the "correct" yen/dollar and mark/dollar exchange rates. Third, if the three major blocs can agree to fix nominal exchange rates within narrow bands, by what working rule should the new monetary standard be anchored to prevent worldwide inflation or deflation? After considering the magnitude of exchange-rate fluctuations since floating began in the early 1970s, I analyze these conceptual issues in the course of demonstrating how the central banks of Japan, the United States, and Germany (representing the continental European bloc) can establish fixed exchange rates and international monetary stability.

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McKinnon, Ronald I. (Unlisted)

JEL Classifications

431: Exchange Rates and Markets--Theory and Studies
432: International Monetary Arrangements


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