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Rational and Self-Fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises

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  • Maurice Obstfeld

Abstract

The recent balance-of-payments literature shows that-speculative attacks on a pegged exchange rate must sometimes-occur if the path of the rate is riot to offer abnormal profit opportunities. Such attacks are fully rational, as they reflect the market's response to a regime breakdown that is inevitable.This paper shows that, given certain expectations about policy, balance-of-payments crises can also be purely self-fulfilling events. In such cases even a permanently viable regime maybreak down, and the economy will possess multiple equilibria corresponding to different subjective assessments of the probability of collapse. The behavior of domestic interest rates and foreign reserves will naturally reflect the possibility of a speculative attack. Work on foreign-exchange crises derives from the natural-resource literature initiated by Salant and Henderson (1978),where the definition of "abnormal" profit opportunities is straightforward. Because the definition is not always straight-forward in a monetary context, this paper also shows how crises occur in a discrete-time stochastic monetary model when an eventual breakdown is inevitable.

Suggested Citation

  • Maurice Obstfeld, 1984. "Rational and Self-Fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises," NBER Working Papers 1486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1486
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    1. Pedro Aspe Armella & Rudiger Dornbusch & Maurice Obstfeld, 1983. "Financial Policies and the World Capital Market: The Problem of Latin American Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number arme83-1.
    2. Stephen W. Salant & Dale W. Henderson, 1976. "Market anticipations, government policy, and the price of gold," International Finance Discussion Papers 81, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. 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.
    4. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
    5. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-325, August.
    6. Salant, Stephen W, 1983. "The Vulnerability of Price Stabilization Schemes to Speculative Attack," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-38, February.
    7. Wyplosz, Charles, 1986. "Capital controls and balance of payments crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 167-179, June.
    8. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Speculative Hyperinflations in Maximizing Models: Can We Rule Them Out?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 675-687, August.
    9. Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1979. "Speculative bubbles, crashes and rational expectations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 387-389.
    10. Salant, Stephen W & Henderson, Dale W, 1978. "Market Anticipations of Government Policies and the Price of Gold," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 627-648, August.
    11. Flood, Robert P & Garber, Peter M, 1984. "Gold Monetization and Gold Discipline," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 90-107, February.
    12. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
    13. Lizondo, Jose Saul, 1983. "Foreign exchange futures prices under fixed exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 69-84, February.
    14. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1984. "Balance-of-Payments Crises and Devaluation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(2), pages 208-217, May.
    15. Flood, Robert P. & Garber, Peter M., 1984. "Collapsing exchange-rate regimes : Some linear examples," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 1-13, August.
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