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A Theory of the Onset of Currency Attacks

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Abstract

The swiftness and devastating impact of recent financial crises have taken many market participants by surprise, and pose challenges for economists seeking a theory of the onset of a crisis. We propose such a theory based on two features. The actions of diverse economic actors which undermine the currency are mutually reinforcing, while the fragmented nature of the media create small disparities in their information. In such circumstances, the beliefs of market participants can be tracked in the same way as the economic fundamentals, and an attack is triggered when the economic fundamentals deteriorate sufficiently to fall below the minimum level of market confidence necessary to support the currency. We give a characterization of such a minimum level of confidence.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d12a/d1204.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1204.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Dec 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Agenor, Miller, Vines and Weber, eds., Asian Financial Crisis: Causes, Contagion and Consequences, Cambridge University Press, 1999
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1204

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Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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Keywords: Currency crisis; common knowledge;

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References

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  1. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1998. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 587-97, June.
  2. Salant, Stephen W & Henderson, Dale W, 1978. "Market Anticipations of Government Policies and the Price of Gold," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 627-48, August.
  3. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
  4. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, . ""Approximate Common Knowledge and Co-ordination: Recent Lessons from Game Theory''," CARESS Working Papres 96-07, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  5. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Rational and Self-fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 72-81, March.
  6. Flood, Robert P & Garber, Peter M, 1984. "Gold Monetization and Gold Discipline," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 90-107, February.
  7. Edison, Hali J & Luangaram, Pongsak & Miller, Marcus, 1998. "Asset Bubbles, Domino Effects and 'Lifeboats': Elements of the East Asian Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1866, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Kumar, Mohan & Moorthy, Uma & Perraudin, William, 2003. "Predicting emerging market currency crashes," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 427-454, September.
  9. Atsushi Kajii & Stephen Morris, 1997. "The Robustness of Equilibria to Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1283-1310, November.
  10. Stephen W. Salant & Dale W. Henderson, 1976. "Market anticipations, government policy, and the price of gold," International Finance Discussion Papers 81, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Carlsson, H. & Damme, E.E.C. van, 1990. "Global games and equilibrium selection," Discussion Paper 1990-52, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  13. Carlsson, H. & Damme, E.E.C. van, 1991. "Equilibrium selection in stag hunt games," Discussion Paper 1991-70, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  14. Shin Hyun Song, 1993. "Logical Structure of Common Knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-13, June.
  15. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Monderer, Dov & Samet, Dov, 1989. "Approximating common knowledge with common beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 170-190, June.
  17. Steven Radelet & Jeffrey Sachs, 1998. "The Onset of the East Asian Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 6680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1989. "The Electronic Mail Game: Strategic Behavior under "Almost Common Knowledge."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 385-91, June.
  19. Van Damme, E., 1991. "Equilibrium Selection in 2 x 2 Games," Papers 9108, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  20. Flood, Robert P. & Garber, Peter M., 1984. "Collapsing exchange-rate regimes : Some linear examples," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 1-13, August.
  21. S. Morris & R. Rob & H. Shin, 2010. "p-dominance and Belief Potential," Levine's Working Paper Archive 505, David K. Levine.
  22. Werlang, Sérgio Ribeiro da Costa, 1988. "Common knowledge," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 118, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
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