Balance of payments dominance: its implications for macroeconomic policy
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This paper defines 'balance of payments dominance' as a macroeconomic regime in which the short-term macroeconomic dynamics is essentially determined by external shocks, positive or negative. It argues that this is the predominant regime in emerging and developing countries. Trade shocks play an important role but the major procyclical shocks are associated with boom-bust cycles in external financing. Policy challenges are associated not only with the management of such shocks but also with the need to enhance the space for countercyclical macroeconomic policies, as boom-bust cycles tend to pressure macroeconomic policies to behave in a procyclical way. Under these conditions, the best bet is to design policies to reduce external vulnerabilities through a mix of administered exchange rate policies, very active foreign exchange reserve management, reduced reliance on external borrowing, and macroprudential regulations, including those directly affecting capital flows. Countercyclical fiscal policy can also play a role but face strong economic and political economy challenges.