Nber Working Paper Series International Reserves before and after the Global Crisis: Is There No End to Hoarding?
- Joshua Aizenman, Yin-Wong Cheung, Hiro Ito
Motivated by the observed international reserve hoarding behavior in the post-1997 crisis period, we explore the Mrs Machlup’s Wardrobe hypothesis and the related keeping up with the Joneses argument. It is conceived that, in addition to psychological reasons, holding a relatively high level of international reserves reduces the vulnerability to speculative attacks and promotes growth. A stylized model is constructed to illustrate this type of hoarding behavior. The relevance of the keeping up with the Joneses effect is examined using a few plausible empirical specifications and data from 10 East Asian economies. Panel-based regression results are suggestive of the presence of the Joneses effect, especially in the post-1997 crisis period.