What is An Emerging Market?

Author/Editor:

Ashoka Mody

Publication Date:

September 1, 2004

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary:

As developing economies become richer, they seek to contract with the global economy in increasingly complex ways. Dealing with that complexity often implies the need to renegotiate contracts. However, such recontracting is viewed with concern, particularly by market participants. At the same time, iron-clad commitments to abstain from recontracting are untenable. Sovereign debt experts have long dealt with this dilemma. This paper argues that the acute trade-off between commitment and flexibility is not unique to sovereign debt. Instead, it is the defining characteristic of an emerging market. Examples of World Bank guarantees on behalf of sovereign governments to private lenders, exchange rate regimes, and international bond contracts, highlight the evolution from commitment to flexibility. Early interaction with international markets typically benefits from strong transaction-specific commitment. However, the goal is to grow out of transactional commitments to achieve commitment through credible institutions. Institutional commitment allows the benefits of flexibility, with the country's "word" acting as the necessary assurance to behave responsibly.

Series:

Working Paper No. 04/177

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

September 1, 2004

ISBN/ISSN:

9781451858907/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA1772004

Format:

Paper

Pages:

24

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