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Latin American Countries in Financial Globalization: Do We Have Learned from Past Crises?

Gilles Dufrénot * Chercheur associé, CEPII ; professeur, Aix-Marseille Université ; membre, École d'économie d'Aix-Marseille (AMSE). Contact :

This paper discusses the monetary and exchange policies followed by Latin American countries during the financial crises that have appeared each decade since the beginning of the 1980s. We examine the implications of a phenomenon defined by Reinhart as “this time is different”. In particular, we report errors in the diagnosis of the structural causes of past financial crises, and the damages caused by the choice of fixed exchange rates. The article also looks at the problems facing the countries today: the resource curse, the dilemma between currency appreciation and financial bubbles, inflation targeting policy. We suggest that governments have learned from past crises, by further anchoring their financial policies to the reality of their economies: the exchange rate regime is no longer the guiding element of inflation policy, loans in local currency have increased due to the rise in domestic bond markets, monetary policies have remained accommodative during the 2008 financial crisis, and central banks have used swap agreements to meet their needs of international currencies.

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