International Financial Contagion and the Fund —A Theoretical Framework
In this paper we provide a model of contagion in which countries are linked through the international capital market which allows borrowing and lending for consumption smoothing. Borrowing from the International Monetary Fund also provides a mechanism for countries to smooth consumption intertemporally. Facing a large shock that makes it impossible for a country simultaneously to achieve a desired minimum level of consumption and to service its foreign debt, the country will default. This will put some upward pressure on world interest rates, which raises the debt service costs of other indebted countries and can generate further rounds of defaults. In this environment the Fund has an important systemic function in lending to members to limit the extent of contagion and default. The Fund can be seen as internalizing the externality generated by the contagion that spreads through the channel of the world capital market that links all countries. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006
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