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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. Bensaid, B.B. & Jeanne, O., 1995. "The Instability of Fixed Exchange Rate Systems when Raising the Nominal Interest Rate is Costly," Papers 9536, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  2. Rose, Andrew K & Svensson, Lars E O, 1993. "European Exchange Rate Credibility Before the Fall," CEPR Discussion Papers 852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Svensson, Lars E O, 1994. "Fixed Exchange Rates as a Means to Price Stability: What Have We Learned?," CEPR Discussion Papers 872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1995. "The Mirage of Fixed Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 5191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Mendoza, Enrique G., 1996. "Mexico's balance-of-payments crisis: a chronicle of a death foretold," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 235-264, November.
  8. 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.
  9. Maurice Obstfeld, 1984. "Rational and Self-Fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises," NBER Working Papers 1486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  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. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  14. 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.
  15. Jeffrey Sachs & Aaron Tornell & Andres Velasco, 1995. "The Collapse of the Mexican Peso: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 5142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. 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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