High public debt in currency crises: fundamentals versus signaling effects
This Paper examines how public debt, government credibility and external circumstances affect the probability of exchange rate devaluations in a three-period open-economy version of the Barro-Gordon (1983) model with nominal public debt. Public debt creates a link between current and future policy actions: resisting a crisis may enhance or undermine the sustainability of the exchange-rate regime depending on whether the government's reputation or fundamentals – i.e. the level of public debt – are critical for sustainability. The focus is on the impact of public debt, debt maturity and government credibility on the expected devaluation for the current and future periods. This allows us to identify factors affecting the short-term interest rate and the forward rate and hence to derive predictions on the level and the slope of the term structure of interest rates.
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