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Black markets for foreign exchange, real exchange rates, and inflation : overnight versus gradual reform in sub-Saharan Africa

  • Economics
  • Political Science


The black market foreign exchange premium is an important implicit tax on exports, creating a conflict between the fiscal goal of financing government spending with a limited menu of tax instruments and the allocative goal of stimulating exports. In this paper, the premium is solved for in a model that includes the portfolio balance approach to exchange rates, dual exchange markets, and seignorage for financing the fiscal deficit. The steady state and dynamic implications for inflation of floats as a vehicle for unifying official and black market rates are then analyzed. Inflation could rise substantially in the new steady state as the lost revenue from exports is replaced with a higher tax on money. Further, the conditions under which undershooting or overshooting occur are parameterized. The paper is motivated by and illustrated with recent examples from sub - Saharan Africa.

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