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


  • Andrew Atkeson
  • Jose-Victor Rios-Rull


In this paper we develop a model in which a country faces a balance of payments crisis if constraints on its international borrowing bind. We use the model to describe the dynamics of the trade balance, capital account, and balance of payments of a country that borrows to finance consumption following sweeping macroeconomic and structural reforms and then hits constraints on its international borrowing. We compare the predictions of this theoretical example with events in Mexico from 1987 through 1995.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Atkeson & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1996. "The balance of payments and borrowing constraints: an alternative view of the Mexican crisis," Staff Report 212, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:212

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Sergio Rebelo & Carlos A. Vegh, 1995. "Real Effects of Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilization: An Analysis of Competing Theories," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 125-188 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Sachs, Jeffrey & Tornell, Aaron & Velasco, Andres, 1995. "The Collapse of the Mexican Peso: What Have We Learned?," Working Papers 95-22, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    7. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1995. "The Mirage of Fixed Exchange Rates," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 73-96, Fall.
    8. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Del Negro & Francesc Obiols-Homs, 2001. "Has monetary policy been so bad that it is better to get rid of it? The case of Mexico," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 404-439.
    2. Sebastian Edwards, 2002. "Does the Current Account Matter?," NBER Chapters,in: Preventing Currency Crises in Emerging Markets, pages 21-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2001. "International and domestic collateral constraints in a model of emerging market crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 513-548, December.
    4. repec:kap:iaecre:v:5:y:1999:i:3:p:277-288 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Davide Lombardo, 2002. "Market Discipline and Exuberant Foreign Borrowing," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Leonardo Hernández & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Banking, Financial Integration, and International Crises, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 11, pages 333-360 Central Bank of Chile.
    6. 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.
    7. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2003. "Hot Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1262-1292, December.
    8. Lagunoff, Roger & Schreft, Stacey L., 2001. "A Model of Financial Fragility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 99(1-2), pages 220-264, July.
    9. M Cruz, 2003. "A Minskyian Crisis: An Application to the 1994-95 Mexican Experience," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0325, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    10. Ho-Don Yan, 1999. "Intertemporal current account balance and the East Asian currency crises," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 5(3), pages 277-288, August.
    11. Chetan Subramanian & Jungsoo Park, 2004. "Exchange Rate Based Stabilization with Sudden Restrictions on Capital Flows," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 748, Econometric Society.
    12. Artus P., 2001. "What Exchange - Rate System For Emerging Countries?," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(1-2), pages 27-60, January -.
    13. Pompeo Della Posta, 2002. "Modelli di crisi valutarie e misure di politica economica," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 55(219), pages 237-262.
    14. Aßmann, Christian, 2008. "Assessing the Effect of Current Account and Currency Crises on Economic Growth," Economics Working Papers 2008-01, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    15. Jaime Guajardo, 2004. "Financial Frictions and Business Cycles in Developing Countries," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 307, Econometric Society.
    16. Jaime C. Guajardo, 2007. "Financial Frections and Business Cycles in Middle Income Countries," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 444, Central Bank of Chile.
    17. Jaime Guajardo, 2008. "Financial Frictions and Business Cycles in Middle-Income Countries," IMF Working Papers 08/20, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Aßmann, Christian, 2007. "Determinants and Costs of Current Account Reversals under Heterogeneity and Serial Correlation," Economics Working Papers 2007-17, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    19. Fausto Hernández Trillo & Alejandro Villagómez Amezcua, 2000. "La estructura de la deuda pública en México: Lecciones y perspectivas," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2108, Inter-American Development Bank.

    More about this item


    Financial crises - Mexico ; Balance of payments ; Mexico;

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics


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