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An Evaluation of the Contractionary Devaluation Hypothesis

  • Ricardo Bebczuk
  • Arturo Galindo
  • Ugo Panizza

Recent empirical and theoretical literature on the impact of real exchange rate devaluations on economic performance questions the traditional expansionary effect generated within standard Mundell-Fleming models. Contractionary devaluations may arise when firms face maturity or currency mismatches that, when faced with real exchange rate depreciations, lead to balance-sheet effects that erode firms’ wealth and lead to an output contraction. While some authors show that the standard Mundell-Fleming result may hold even in the presence of currency mismatches, others point out that, if the balance sheet effect is large enough, devaluations can be contractionary. Using a large panel of 57 countries across the world and various newly constructed measures of dollarization, we test whether the balance sheet effect hypothesis has been relevant during the past decades in explaining economic downturns. Additionally, we explore the channels through which devaluations can be contractionary; in particular, we explore whether investment and consumption decisions are negatively affected by exchange rate devaluations under currency mismatches.

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Paper provided by Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata in its series Department of Economics, Working Papers with number 064.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lap:wpaper:064
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Web page: http://www.depeco.econo.unlp.edu.ar/doctrab.php

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  1. Sebastian Galiani & Eduardo Levy Yeyati & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2003. "Financial Dollarization and Debt Deflation under a Currency Board," Working Papers 64, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Nov 2003.
  2. 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.
  3. Benavente, Jose Miguel & Johnson, Christian A. & Morande, Felipe G., 2003. "Debt composition and balance sheet effects of exchange rate depreciations: a firm-level analysis for Chile," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 397-416, December.
  4. Eduardo Levy-Yeyati, 2004. "FINANCIAL DOLLARIZATION: Evaluating the consequences," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 184, Econometric Society.
  5. Arturo Galindo & Alejandro Izquierdo & José M. Montero, 2006. "Real exchange rates, dollarization and industrial employment in Latin America," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0601, Banco de Espa�a.
  6. Echeverry, Juan Carlos & Fergusson, Leopoldo & Steiner, Roberto & Aguilar, Camila, 2003. "'Dollar' debt in Colombian firms: are sinners punished during devaluations?," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 417-449, December.
  7. Aguiar, Mark, 2005. "Investment, devaluation, and foreign currency exposure: The case of Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 95-113, October.
  8. Baer, Werner & Maloney, William, 1997. "Neoliberalism and income distribution in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 311-327, March.
  9. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Izquierdo, Alejandro & Loo-Kung, Rudy, 2006. "Relative price volatility under Sudden Stops: The relevance of balance sheet effects," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 231-254, June.
  10. Martins, Betina Guimarães Dodsworth & Pinto, Rodrigo Ribeiro Antunes & Bonomo, Marco Antônio Cesar, 2004. "Debt composition and exchange rate balance sheet effects in Brazil: A firm level analysis," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 535, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  11. Paul Krugman, 1999. "Balance Sheets, the Transfer Problem, and Financial Crises," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 459-472, November.
  12. Luis Felipe Cespedes & Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 2000. "Balance Sheets and Exchange Rate Policy," NBER Working Papers 7840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Felipe Larrain & Jeffrey Sachs, 1986. "Contractionary Devaluation, and Dynamic Adjustment of Exports and Wages," NBER Working Papers 2078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Martinez, Lorenza & Werner, Alejandro, 2002. "The exchange rate regime and the currency composition of corporate debt: the Mexican experience," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 315-334, December.
  15. Galindo, Arturo & Panizza, Ugo & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2003. "Debt composition and balance sheet effects of currency depreciation: a summary of the micro evidence," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 330-339, December.
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