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Dollarization of Liabilities: Underinsurance and Domestic Financial Underdevelopment

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Arvind Krishnamurthy

Abstract

While there is still much disagreement on the causes underlying recent emerging markets' crises, one factor that most observers have agreed upon is that contracting dollar' (foreign currency) denominated external debt as opposed to domestic currency debt created balance sheet mismatches that led to bankruptcies and dislocations that amplified downturns. Much of the analysis of the currency-balance sheet channel' hinges on the assumption that companies contract dollar denominated debt. Yet there has been little systematic inquiry into why companies must or choose to take on dollar debt. In this paper we cast the problem as one of microeconomic underinsurance with respect to country-wide aggregate shocks. Denominating external debt in domestic currency is equivalent to contracting the same amount of dollar-debt, complemented with insurance against shocks that depreciate the equilibrium exchange rate. The presence of country-level international financial constraints justify the purchase of such insurance even if all agents are risk neutral. However, if domestic financial constraints also exist, domestics will undervalue the social contribution of contracting insurance against country-wide shocks. Foreign lenders will reinforce the underinsurance problem by reducing their participation in domestic financial markets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7792.

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Date of creation: Jul 2000
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7792

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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2000. "International Liquidity Management: Sterilization Policy in Illiquid Financial Markets," NBER Working Papers 7740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Holmstrom, B & Tirole, J, 1996. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Working papers 96-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza & Ernesto H. Stein, 2000. "Why Do Countries Float the Way They Float?," Research Department Publications 4205, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Roberto Chang & Andrés Velasco, 2000. "Liquidity Crises in Emerging Markets: Theory and Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 11-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Burnside, A Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1999. "Hedging and Financial Fragility in Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 2171, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Gale, D. & Allen, F., 1991. "Limited Market Participation and Volatility of Asset Prices," Weiss Center Working Papers 14-91, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  7. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2000. "Optimal Currency Crises," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-23, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Ricardo Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 1998. "Emerging Market Crises: An Asset Markets Perspective," Working papers 98-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Philippe Aghion & Philippe Bacchetta & Abhijit Banerjee, 2000. "Currency Crises and Monetary Policy in an Economy with Credit Constraints," Working Papers 00.07, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  10. Michael P. Dooley, 1998. "A model of crises in emerging markets," International Finance Discussion Papers 630, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Froot, Kenneth A. & O'Connell, Paul G.J., 2008. "On the pricing of intermediated risks: Theory and application to catastrophe reinsurance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-85, January.
  12. Paul Krugman, 1999. "Balance Sheets, the Transfer Problem, and Financial Crises," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 459-472, November.
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