Alex Mandilaras graduated with a BSc in Economics from the Athens University of Economics and Business in 1996. Following completion of an MA degree in Financial and Business Economics at the University of Essex in 1998, he embarked on a PhD with a full scholarship at the University of Surrey. He received his PhD in 2001 and, in the same year, the awarding institution appointed him as a lecturer in economics. Since then he has published several articles in international economics journals. He has also held part-time positions at NYU London and Santa Clara University in California.
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- Director of Learning & Teaching
- Deputy Head of School
- Postgraduate Director (Taught Programmes)
In the media
In this paper, we examine the stability of international macroeconomic policies of developing countries in the post-Bretton Woods period. We use the simple geometry of the classic, open-economy trilemma to construct a new, univariate measure of inter- national macroeconomic policy stability, and to characterize international macroeconomic arrangements in terms of their semblance to definitive policy archetypes; and, we use the trilemma constraint to provide a new gauge of monetary sovereignty. Using these measures, we find that the greatest international macroeconomic stability among developing economies exists where there are capital controls and limited exchange rate flexibility. The least stable policies occur in the economies with flexible exchange rates and open financial markets. We also find that official holdings of foreign exchange re- serves seem to be weakly linked to greater policy stability, and their link is further weakened where financial markets are open.
A new perspective is provided on a puzzle that has emerged from the empirical lit- erature suggesting that government-independent central banks provide a `free lunch': lower in°ation is apparently achieved at no cost in terms of greater output variance. We assess the various explanations provided by the theoretical literature. After revis- iting the free lunch puzzle and con¯rming the empirical importance of open-economy effects, we develop a Rogoff-style delegation model that combines the latter with po- litical monetary cycle e®ects. We show that if all countries delegate monetary policy to government independent banks, as economies become more integrated then a low inflation, higher output variance trade-off re-emerges.
For many years analysis of IMF conditionality overlooked the extent to which it was implemented. However, more recently increasing attention has been paid to implementation. Theoretical contributions have focused on the importance of special interest groups, but empirical evidence has failed to provide compelling support for the theory. Indeed, empirical studies have reported mixed results that sometimes seem to be conflicting. This paper identifies a range of economic, political and institutional factors that may, in principle, influence implementation. Using various measures of implementation, it then tests an econometric model designed to capture these influences over 1992-2004 exploiting improved sources of data. The results suggest that significant determinants of implementation are trade openness, the existence of veto players and the amount of resources committed by the Fund. The paper offers an interpretation of the results and discusses the implications for policy.
The paper examines the capital flows of seven Southeast Asian emerging economies over the last decade and a half. It first evaluates the role of economic conditions within a country itself, including the country's domestic financial conditions and the openness of its financial markets to international capital flows. Then, the role of the counties' own domestic conditions is compared with regional influences and with the importance of macroeconomic conditions elsewhere, such as in Europe, and in the largest single recipient of the outflows, the United States. Key results include: (1) domestic capital market conditions are the best predictors (among the variables that we examine) of the capital flows of these countries; (2) capital market openness is of little use in predicting changes in capital flows; and, (3) while the macroeconomic conditions of the United States are strong predictors of subsequent GDP growth in the region, they are not, by themselves, good predictors of the region's capital flows.
In the aftermath of the 1997/1998 crisis, Asian economies have built up large holdings of international reserves. Although initially encouraged to do so by the IMF, more recently they have been criticised for maintaining undervalued currencies, running large current account balance of payments surpluses and accumulating excessive reserves, policies that have been blamed in part for causing global economic imbalances. This paper examines two related issues. The first is the role of closer international macroeconomic policy co-ordination in rectifying the imbalances and the institutional mechanisms through which this may be achieved. The second is the alternative ways in which the liquidity needs of Asian economies may be met without them having to acquire large reserve holdings. There may be an inconsistency in opposing reserve accumulation in Asia and at the same time blocking reform that would provide additional security against subsequent economic and financial crises.
Has the global economic crisis resulted in countries shifting their exchange rate regimes and, if so, in what way? Focusing on the relevant period of 2008-12, and using the IMF’s Annual Report on Exchange Arrangements and Exchange Restrictions (AREAER) classification of exchange rate regimes and database, we calculate exchange rate regime transition probabilities and test their statistical significance. Even though there is some evidence of state de- pendence, in the sense that transitions are relatively infrequent, we do find that these are significant, especially in the direction of fixity. Our testing procedure employs the Wilson (1927) statistic, which is appropriate for draw- ing inference based on relatively rare events. By examining all transitions in detail, we also find further evidence that countries that shift often flip back to their previous regime.
Using data from the University of Surrey's Economics Department, this paper explores the role of professional placement in degree performance. The list of control variables includes a measure of ability, A-level subject choice, gender and nationality. The statistical analysis offers evidence that participation in the placement scheme significantly increases the chances of obtaining an upper second or higher degree class. Ability, as captured by the student's second-year average mark, is also related to better academic performance. British students are also predicted to do better than their foreign peers.
This paper uses the simple geometry of the classic, open-economy trilemma to introduce a new gauge of the stability of international macroeconomic ar- rangements. The new stability gauge reflects the simultaneity of a country’s choices of exchange rate fixity, financial openness, and monetary sovereignty. So, the new gauge is bounded and correspondingly non-Gaussian. We use the new stability gauge in nonlinear panel estimates to examine the post- Bretton Woods period, and we find that trilemma policy stability is linked to official holdings of foreign exchange reserves in low income countries. We also find that the combination of fixed exchange rates and financial market openness is the most stable arrangement within the trilemma; and middle-income countries have less stable trilemma arrangements than either low or high-income countries. The paper also characterizes international macroeconomic arrangements in terms of their semblance to definitive pol- icy archetypes; and, it uses the trilemma constraint to provide a new gauge of monetary sovereignty.
Latin American countries have been in the eye of economic and ¯nancial storms several times in recent years. Advice from the International Monetary Fund has consistently highlighted the need for sound fiscal policies and lower debt levels. But is public debt relevant? Following a brief discussion of the theoretical issues involved, this paper examines empirically the relationship between public indebtedness and pressures in the foreign exchange market. Alternative measures are used to capture the latter and the analysis controls for a de facto classi¯cation of exchange rate regimes. Estimations of static and dynamic panels for 28 Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries report substantial fiscal effects.
This paper uses the simple geometry of the classic, open-economy trilemma to introduce a new gauge of the stability of international macroeconomic arrangements. The new stability gauge reflects the simultaneity of a country's choices of exchange rate fixity, financial openness, and monetary sovereignty. So, the new gauge is bounded and correspondingly non-Gaussian. We use the new stability gauge in nonlinear panel estimates to examine the post-Bretton Woods period, and we find that trilemma policy stability is linked to official holdings of foreign exchange reserves in low income countries. We also find that the combination of fixed exchange rates and financial market openness is the most stable arrangement within the trilemma; and middle-income countries have less stable trilemma arrangements than either low or high-income countries. The paper also characterizes international macroeconomic arrangements in terms of their semblance to definitive policy archetypes; and, it uses the trilemma constraint to provide a new gauge of monetary sovereignty.
The eurozone crisis has involved sharp output declines and has generated much discussion about the appropriate design of macroeconomic policy both in terms of dealing with the contemporary situation and minimising the risks of future crises. Much of the debate surrounding the crisis has focused on fiscal policy. All but two member states of the European Union have signed a draft treaty, the 'fiscal compact', that seeks to eliminate structural fiscal deficits. This paper examines the relationship between fiscal balances and output shortfalls amongst the eurozone countries allowing for other factors. In the light of the findings it critically assesses the fiscal compact. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Some commentators have claimed that there is a growing Beijing Consensus among emerging and developing economies concerning the merits of China's economic policies. Within an analytical framework provided by the well known international policy trilemma, this paper investigates the empirical evidence concerning this claim with specific reference to the adoption of international macroeconomic policies. We find that there are substantial differences between what China does and what is done in other emerging and developing economies. While we discover some regional and inter-temporal variations, there seems to be little or no support for the existence of a Beijing Consensus. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Issues surrounding exchange rates continue to fascinate both economists and political scientists. Although a relatively large literature has grown around attempting to explain the choice of exchange rate regime, empirical estimation has failed to find a generally satisfactory explanation of it. Shifts between exchange rate regimes are even less well understood. This paper focuses on such shifts and examines them by estimating both an economics only specification and one that is augmented with political variables. As a robustness check we also estimate a data driven specification using a large and comprehensive set of economic and political variables. In addition, we examine shifts between international macroeconomic archetypes to see whether similar factors are at work. In terms of exchange rate regime shifts, we find that although unobservable country specific factors are significant, there are other systematically important factors including, in particular, economic growth and IMF involvement. Central bank independence, financial openness and the incidence of crises may also exert an influence. In contrast, we find that selected political variables are generally insignificant in affecting shifts, although they may influence the size of shifts, once they happen.
The international macroeconomic policy trilemma suggests that despite the appeal of exchange rate stability, financial account openness and monetary sovereignty, these cannot be achieved simultaneously. Using elements of Euclidean geometry, this paper proposes a new method for testing the trilemma and finds considerable evidence in support of it. Further tests indicate that, on average, policy configurations are not on the trilemma constraint, i.e. there is a degree of ‘trilemma-ineffectiveness’, which is costly for real output growth and price inflation. It is shown that these costs can be attributed to limited exchange rate stability and financial account openness.
Some diseases are more contagious than others, but what determines whether a disease spreads or is contained? Proximity is a factor but some have stronger immunity than others. Even vaccination does not guarantee against infection but if a person does get infected there may be an available antidote. Could the same things be said about financial crises, such as those experienced in Latin America? This article looks at the channels through which economic developments in one country can spill over to others. It discusses interdependence and contagion. However, we suggest that the simple 'trigger-spillover' story is deficient in the Latin American context. It would be wrong to view the crisis in Argentina as the root cause of Latin America's current problems. World economic growth has declined and this has more clearly exposed the deficiencies in Latin America's economic fundamentals. But how can countries immunies themselves against crisis and contagion and, in the midst of the crisis, is the IMF doctor prescribing the best medicine?
The East Asian crisis of 1997 sparked an extensive literature in an effort to explain the causes and spread of heightened foreign exchange (FX) market pressures in the region. In this paper, we model FX movements and calculate spillover effects covering the extended period between 1990 and 2004. Using Markov switching vector autoregressions, we find evidence that FX correlations vary across crisis and non-crisis states, a result that bears implications for international portfolio diversification and reserve pooling. Even though the direction of effects does not follow discernible patterns, it is clear from the data that contagion effects are present. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.