Macroeconomic policy under a managed float: a simple integrated framework

BIS Working Papers  |  No 964  | 
30 September 2021
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 |  90 pages



We study the performance of a range of macroeconomic policy tools under a managed float in a simple open economy with financial frictions. These tools include monetary policy, fiscal policy, foreign exchange intervention, macroprudential policy and capital controls. The impact of these policies are studied individually to highlight their transmission channels. However, we also study their impact in pairs in response to capital inflows induced by a reduction in world interest rates. This highlights the extent to which they complement each other.


Some of the issues which we study have been addressed in relatively complex quantitative models. However, simple analytical policy tools which emphasise the role of financial frictions – a key feature of modern macroeconomics – are still missing. Our model is analytically tractable and can be used to study the impact of these policies. It therefore provides a useful entry point to the more advanced literature.


We find that whether monetary policy should be contractionary or expansionary, to stabilise the economy in response to capital inflows driven by external financial shocks, depends on which other instrument(s) policymakers have at their disposal. In particular, if fiscal policy is the only other instrument available, a reduction in the policy interest rate and a spending cut is effective. However, if the other available instrument is capital controls, an increase in the policy rate coupled with a tightening of capital controls is most effective to stabilise the economy. The fact that an effective policy mix may involve higher rather than lower interest rates, depending on the other instrument available, runs counter to standard policy prescriptions.


This paper presents a simple integrated macroeconomic model of a small, bank-dependent open economy with a managed float and financial frictions. The model is used to study, both analytically and diagrammatically, the macroeconomic effects of five types of policy instruments: fiscal policy, monetary policy, macroprudential regulation, foreign exchange intervention, and capital controls, in the form of a tax on bank foreign borrowing. We also consider a drop in the world interest rate and examine how these instruments can be adjusted jointly to restore the initial equilibrium. Although this analysis is only partial (given, in particular, the static nature of the model and the absence of an explicit account of policy preferences), it provides new insights on how macroeconomic policies operate under a managed float and financial frictions, and how these policies can complement each other in response to capital inflows driven by "push" factors. In particular, the analysis shows that, to stabilize the economy, whether monetary policy should be contractionary or expansionary depends on which other instruments are available to policymakers. The joint use of macroprudential regulation and capital controls is also shown to provide a potent combination to manage capital inflows.

JEL classification: E63, F38, F41