Exchange Rate Regimes and Macroeconomic Volatility: is «Fear of Floating» a Stabilizing Policy
Using a panel data set of 180 countries spanning from 1971 to 2000, we find evidence that exchange rate policy affects macroeconomic performance for the sample of non-industrialized countries. We consider two measures of economic performance: i) per capita GDP growth and ii) the volatility of per capita GDP growth and investigate the nature of their dependence on de facto/de jure mix of exchange rate policies. Our characterization of exchange rate policy measures whether a country's de facto policy is consistent with its publicly stated de jure exchange rate regime. Employing the Rogoff and Reinhart (2002) de facto classification we find the significant statistical relationship between exchange rate policy and growth which is robust to the inclusion of conventional growth control variables. Our nuanced characterization shows that the non-industrialized countries exhibiting `fear of floating,' have higher GDP growth. With respect to GDP volatility a division of policy into fixed versus floating exchange rates using the de facto/de jure metrics is significant and indicates that `fear of floating' is stabilizing for the non-industrialized but destabilizing for industrialized countries.