December 2007

Habit Formation and the Comovement of Prices and Consumption During Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization Programs

Martin Uribe


A defining stylized fact associated with exchange-rate-based (ERB) stabilization programs is that their initial phase is characterized by several years of expansion in private consumption and a gradual appreciation of the real exchange rate. In this paper, I argue that standard optimizing models are unable to account for this empirical regularity, as they predict that, except for the date of announcement of the program, an appreciation of the real exchange rate must necessarily be accompanied by a decline in consumption. I show that this price-consumption problem can be resolved by relaxing the assumption of time separability in preferences. Specifically, under habit formation a permanent ERB program generates a smooth boom in consumption and gradual real exchange rate appreciation. A temporary program induces, in addition, a smooth boom-recession cycle with the recession beginning before the abandonment of the program.

Keywords: Inflation stabilization, fixed exchange rates, habit formation, durability

PDF: Full Paper

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