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The balance of payments and borrowing constraints: An alternative view of the Mexican crisis

  • Atkeson, Andrew
  • Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor

In standard models of the balance of payments, crises occur when investors begin to doubt the credibility of the government's commitment to its exchange rate policy. In this paper, we develop an alternative model in which balance of payments crises occur even if the credibility of government fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies is never in doubt. In this alternative model, international lending is constrained by the risk of repudiation. Balance of payments crises occur when the government and citizens of a country hit their international borrowing constraints. Our model is broadly consistent with events in Mexico from 1987-1995. More generally, our model suggests that countries which undertake sweeping macroeconomic and structural reforms should expect to face a balance of payments crisis when they exhaust their access to international capital inflows.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 41 (1996)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (November)
Pages: 331-349

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:41:y:1996:i:3-4:p:331-349
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  1. Pierre-Richard Agenor & Jagdeep S. Bhandari & Robert P. Flood, 1991. "Speculative Attacks and Models of Balance-of-Payments Crises," NBER Working Papers 3919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rebelo, Sérgio, 1995. "Real Effects of Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization: An Analysis of Competing Theories," CEPR Discussion Papers 1220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Maurice Obstfeld, 1986. "Speculative Attack and the External Constraint in a Maximizing Model of the Balance of Payments," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(1), pages 1-22, February.
  4. Jeffrey Sachs & Aaron Tornell & Andres Velasco, 1995. "The Collapse of the Mexican Peso: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 5142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas J. Sargent, 1982. "The Ends of Four Big Inflations," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 41-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1995. "The Mirage of Fixed Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 5191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert P. Flood & Jagdeep S. Bhandari & Pierre-Richard Agénor, 1991. "Speculative Attacks and Models of Balance of Payments Crises," IMF Working Papers 91/99, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Eaton, Jonathan & Fernandez, Raquel, 1995. "Sovereign debt," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 3, pages 2031-2077 Elsevier.
  9. Rudiger Dornbusch & Alejandro Werner, 1994. "Mexico: Stabilization, Reform, and No Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 253-316.
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