IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Are Devaluations Really Contractionary?


  • I.Igal Magendzo


Given the theoretical disagreement on the effect of a devaluation on output, empirical evidence plays an fundamental role. Empirical findings have favored the view that devaluations are contractionary. In this paper the author argues that what stands behind these results is selection bias. In theory, the same variables that determine the probability of a devaluation determine the rate of growth of output. The author controls for selection bias using matching estimators and extensive dataset of 155 countries for the period 1970-1999 that includes as many as 264 devaluation episodes. Not controlling for selection bias, devaluations appear to becontractionary, in line with previous findings. Nevertheless, when the author controls for this bias, the contractionary effect vanishes. Extensive sensitivity analysis is provided.

Suggested Citation

  • I.Igal Magendzo, 2002. "Are Devaluations Really Contractionary?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 182, Central Bank of Chile.
  • Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:182

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
    2. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 827-862, July.
    3. Luis Felipe Céspedes & Roberto Chang & Andrés Velasco, 2004. "Balance Sheets and Exchange Rate Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1183-1193, September.
    4. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
    5. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    6. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
    7. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 2000. "Investor protection and corporate governance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-27.
    8. Robert J. Barro, 1998. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522543, July.
    9. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Aaron Tornell & Andrés Velasco, 1996. "Financial Crises in Emerging Markets: The Lessons from 1995," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 147-216.
    10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:04:p:779-801_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Edward, Sebastian, 1986. "Are Devaluations Contractionary?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(3), pages 501-508, August.
    13. Caselli, Francesco & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lefort, Fernando, 1996. "Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 363-389, September.
    14. Van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1986. "Exchange rate management and stabilization policies in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 227-247, October.
    15. Kamal Upadhyaya & Mukti Upadhyay, 1999. "Output effects of devaluation: Evidence from Asia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(6), pages 89-103.
    16. Michael Hutchison, 2003. "A Cure Worse Than the Disease? Currency Crises and the Output Costs of IMF-Supported Stabilization Programs," NBER Chapters,in: Managing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets, pages 321-360 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Gylfason, Thorvaldur & Risager, Ole, 1984. "Does devaluation improve the current account?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 37-64, June.
    18. Derrick Reagle & Dominick Salvatore, 2000. "Forecasting Financial Crises in Emerging Market Economies," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 247-259, July.
    19. Beck, Thorsten & Levine, Ross & Loayza, Norman, 2000. "Finance and the sources of growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 261-300.
    20. Upadhyaya, Kamal P., 1999. "Currency devaluation, aggregate output, and the long run: an empirical study," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 197-202, August.
    21. Kruger, Mark & Osakwe, Patrick N. & Page, Jennifer, 1998. "Fundamentals, Contagion and Currency Crises: An Empirical Analysis," Staff Working Papers 98-10, Bank of Canada.
    22. J. Saul Lizondo & Peter J. Montiel, 1989. "Contractionary Devaluation in Developing Countries: An Analytical Overview," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(1), pages 182-227, March.
    23. Anne O. Krueger, 1978. "Liberalization Attempts and Consequences," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number krue78-1, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bussière, Matthieu & Saxena, Sweta C. & Tovar, Camilo E., 2012. "Chronicle of currency collapses: Re examining the effects on output," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 680-708.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:182. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Claudio Sepulveda). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.