December 21, 2002 A series of major international financial crises in the 1990s, and the recent introduction of the euro, have renewed interest in alternative exchange rate systems. The choice of exchange rate regime is particularly relevant for emerging-market countries because other countries are perceived either as having no alternative to their current exchange rate arrangement or as highly unlikely to change. This article examines the evolution of exchange rate regimes in emerging markets over the past decade and compares the strengths and weaknesses of the various available systems. These include intermediate regimes, such as the adjustable pegged exchange rate popular throughout much of the post—war period, and the two extreme exchange rate regimes: permanently fixed or freely floating exchange rate regimes. Two recently proposed alternatives are also evaluated: the Managed Floating Plus and Baskets, Bands, and Crawling Pegs. Both try to combine the best elements of the flexible and fixed exchange rate systems, but the Managed Floating Plus is deemed to be the more promising alternative.
November 21, 2002 The sharp depreciation of the Canadian dollar and the successful launch of the euro have sparked a lively debate in Canada about the possible benefits of formally adopting the U.S. dollar as our national currency. Some observers have suggested that this debate is largely irrelevant, since Canada is already highly "dollarized." Canadian businesses and households, they assert, often use the U.S. dollar to perform standard money functions in preference to their own currency. Very little evidence has been provided, however, to support these claims. The authors review the available data with a view to drawing some tentative conclusions about the extent to which Canada has already been informally dollarized. The evidence suggests that many of the concerns that have been expressed about the imminent demise of the Canadian dollar have been misplaced. The Canadian dollar continues to be used as the principal unit of account, medium of exchange, and store of value within our borders. Moreover, there is no indication that dollarization is likely to take hold in the foreseeable future. Indeed, in many respects, the Canadian economy is less dollarized now than it was 20 years ago.