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130 years of fiscal vulnerabilities and currency crashes in advanced economies

  • Fratzscher, Marcel
  • Mehl, Arnaud
  • Vansteenkiste, Isabel

This paper investigates the empirical link between fiscal vulnerabilities and currency crashes in advanced economies over the last 130 years, building on a new dataset of real effective exchange rates and fiscal balances for 21 countries since 1880. We find evidence that crashes depend more on prospective fiscal deficits than on actual ones, and more on the composition of public debt (i.e. rollover/sudden stop risk) than on its level per se. We also uncover significant nonlinear effects at high levels of public debt as well as significantly negative risk premia for major reserve currencies, which enjoy a lower probability of currency crash than other currencies ceteris paribus. Yet, our estimates indicate that such premia remain small in size relative to the conditional probability of a currency crash if prospective fiscal deficits or rollover/sudden stop risk are high. This suggests that a currency’s international status is not necessarily sufficient to shelter it from collapse.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8612.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8612
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  1. Bordo, Michael D. & Meissner, Christopher M. & Stuckler, David, 2010. "Foreign currency debt, financial crises and economic growth: A long-run view," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 642-665, June.
  2. Hugh Rockoff & Michael D. Bordo, 1996. "The Gold Standard as a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval"," Departmental Working Papers 199528, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  3. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Missale, Alessandro, 2001. "High Public Debt in Currency Crises: Fundamentals versus Signalling Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 2862, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Reinhart, Carmen, 2009. "The Second Great Contraction," MPRA Paper 21485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Fratzscher, Marcel & Matthieu Bussiere, 2003. "Towards A New Early Warning System of Financial Crises," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 81, Royal Economic Society.
  6. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "The twin crises: the causes of banking and balance-of-payments problems," International Finance Discussion Papers 544, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2008. "Is the 2007 US Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different? An International Historical Comparison," Scholarly Articles 11129156, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fear of Floating," NBER Working Papers 7993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 466-472, May.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," Scholarly Articles 11129154, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 319-350, 05.
  12. Christopher M Meissner & Michael D Bordo, 2006. "The Role of Foreign Currency Debt in Financial Crises: 1880-1913 vs. 1972-1997," WEF Working Papers 0001, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
  13. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2010. "This Time is Different Chartbook: Country Histories on Debt, Default, and Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 15815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo, 1999. "Inversión de las corrientes de capital, tipo de cambio y dolarización
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    ," MPRA Paper 13692, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Guillermo A. Calvo, 2006. "Monetary Policy Challenges in Emerging Markets: Sudden Stop, Liability Dollarization, and Lender of Last Resort," Research Department Publications 4504, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  16. Jeffrey A. Frankel and Sergio L. Shmukler., 1996. "Country Fund Discounts, Asymmetric Information and the Mexican Crisis of 1994: Did Local Residents Turn Pessimistic Before International Investors?," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C96-067, University of California at Berkeley.
  17. Mehl, Arnaud & Reynaud, Julien, 2010. "Risky public domestic debt composition in emerging economies," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-18, February.
  18. Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2009. "Credit Booms Gone Bust: Monetary Policy, Leverage Cycles and Financial Crises, 1870-2008," NBER Working Papers 15512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "A Historical Public Debt Database," IMF Working Papers 10/245, International Monetary Fund.
  20. Fabian Valencia & Luc Laeven, 2008. "Systemic Banking Crises; A New Database," IMF Working Papers 08/224, International Monetary Fund.
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