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The Mexican Peso Crisis: Sudden Death or Death Foretold?

  • Jeffrey Sachs
  • Aaron Tornell
  • Andres Velasco

We argue that allowing for the possibility of a self-fulfilling panic helps in understanding several features of the recent Mexican crisis. Self-fulfilling expectations became decisive in generating a panic only after the government ran down gross reserves and ran up short-term dollar debt. We present a simple model to explain how and why multiple equilibria can occur for some levels of reserves or debt, but not for others. Lastly, we argue that the imperfect credibility of Mexican exchange rate policy made it advisable to follow more contractionary fiscal and monetary policies in 1994. Our model formalizes the reasons why this is so.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5563.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5563.

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Date of creation: May 1996
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Publication status: published as Sachs, Jeffrey & Tornell, Aaron & Velasco, Andres, 1996. "The Mexican peso crisis: Sudden death or death foretold?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 265-283, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5563
Note: IFM
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  1. Andrew K. Rose & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1993. "European Exchange Rate Credibility Before the Fall," NBER Working Papers 4495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Destabilizing Effects of Exchange-Rate Escape Clauses," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt15n3p5dt, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Bensaid, Bernard & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "The instability of fixed exchange rate systems when raising the nominal interest rate is costly," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1461-1478, August.
  4. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Rational and Self-fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 72-81, March.
  5. Krugman, Paul, 1979. "A Model of Balance-of-Payments Crises," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 11(3), pages 311-25, August.
  6. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1995. "The mirage of fixed exchange rates," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 95-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. Ozkan, F. Gulcin & Sutherland, Alan, 1998. "A currency crisis model with an optimising policymaker," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 339-364, April.
  8. 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.
  9. Velasco, Andres, 1987. "Financial crises and balance of payments crises : A simple model of the southern cone experience," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 263-283, October.
  10. Guillermo A. Calvo & Enrique G. Mendoza, 1996. "Mexico's balance-of-payments crisis: a chronicle of death foretold," International Finance Discussion Papers 545, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Svensson, L.E.O., 1993. "Fixed Exchange Rates As a Means to Price Stability: What Have we Learned?," Papers 553, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  12. Guillermo A. Calvo & Pablo E. Guidotti, 1990. "Credibility and Nominal Debt: Exploring the Role of Maturity in Managing Inflation," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 37(3), pages 612-635, September.
  13. Jeffrey Sachs & Aaron Tornell & Andres Velasco, 1995. "The Collapse of the Mexican Peso: What Have We Learned?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1724, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. de Kock, Gabriel & Grilli, Vittorio, 1993. "Fiscal Policies and the Choice of Exchange Rate Regime," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(417), pages 347-58, March.
  15. Ozkan, F Gulcin & Sutherland, Alan, 1995. "Policy Measures to Avoid a Currency Crisis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 510-19, March.
  16. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-61, September.
  17. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. 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.
  20. Drazen, Allan & Masson, Paul R, 1994. "Credibility of Policies versus Credibility of Policymakers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 735-54, August.
  21. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Cukierman, Alex & Leiderman, Leonardo & Spiegel, Yossi, 1994. "Choosing the Width of Exchange Rate Bands - Credibility vs. Flexibility," CEPR Discussion Papers 907, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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