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Why Did Argentina's Currency Board Collapse?


  • Francois J. Gurtner


This paper sheds light on the risks associated with currency board arrangements, referring to the severe liquidity crisis that emerged in Argentina in November 2000. The inability of the Argentinean economy to grow because of an overvalued peso and the massive borrowing needs of the government in the context of rapidly rising borrowing costs seriously undermined the credibility of the fixed-exchange rate regime. Given the widespread dollarisation of the financial sector on the liability side, Argentina had arguably little choice but to stick to the currency board. A series of measures aimed at reviving growth were implemented but with no signs of upturn in demand, increasingly distrustful international investors and growing social unrest, the country was forced into default in December 2001, putting an abrupt end to its decade long experiment with hard money. This study shows that with rigid labour markets, a lack of fiscal discipline and the absence of a natural anchor currency, Argentina was never a strong candidate for a hard peg. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

Suggested Citation

  • Francois J. Gurtner, 2004. "Why Did Argentina's Currency Board Collapse?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 679-697, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:27:y:2004:i:5:p:679-697

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Luiz de Mello, 1997. "Foreign direct investment in developing countries and growth: A selective survey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 1-34.
    2. Lensink, R. & Morrissey, O., 2001. "Foreign direct investment: flows, volatility and growth in developing countries," Research Report 01E16, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    3. Balasubramanyam, V N & Salisu, M & Sapsford, David, 1996. "Foreign Direct Investment and Growth in EP and IS Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 92-105, January.
    4. repec:dgr:rugsom:01e16 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2001. "Can the World Cut Poverty in Half? How Policy Reform and Effective Aid Can Meet International Development Goals," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1787-1802, November.
    6. Borensztein, E. & De Gregorio, J. & Lee, J-W., 1998. "How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 115-135, June.
    7. Manuel Agosin & Roberto Machado, 2005. "Foreign Investment in Developing Countries: Does it Crowd in Domestic Investment?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 149-162.
    8. Hiemenz, Ulrich & Agarwal, Jamuna Prasad & Langhammer, Rolf J. & Nunnenkamp, Peter & Spinanger, Dean, 1991. "The international competitiveness of developing countries for risk capital," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 747, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    9. Ewe-Ghee Lim, 2001. "Determinants of, and the Relation Between, Foreign Direct Investment and Growth; A Summary of the Recent Literature," IMF Working Papers 01/175, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kathryn M. E. Dominguez & Linda L. Tesar, 2007. "International Borrowing and Macroeconomic Performance in Argentina," NBER Chapters,in: Capital Controls and Capital Flows in Emerging Economies: Policies, Practices and Consequences, pages 297-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Busse, Matthias & Hefeker, Carsten & Koopmann, Georg, 2006. "Between two poles: A dual currency board for Mercosur," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 349-362, December.

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