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Financial Crises in Emerging Markets: The Lessons from 1995

  • Jeffrey Sachs
  • Aaron Tornell
  • Andres Velasco

In this paper we examine closely the financial events following the Mexican peso devaluation to uncover new lessons about the nature of financial crises. We explore the question of why, during 1995, some emerging markets were hit by financial crises while others were not. To this end, we ask whether there are some fundamentals that help explain the variation in financial crises across countries or whether the variation just reflects contagion. We present a simple model identifying three factors that determine whether a country is more vulnerable to suffer a financial crisis: a high real exchange rate appreciation, a recent lending boom, and low reserves. We find that for a set of 20 emerging markets, differences in these fundamentals go far in explaining why during 1995 some emerging markets were hit by financial crises while others were not. We also find that alternative hypotheses that have been put forth to explain such crises often do not seem to be supported by the data, such as high current account deficits, excessive capital inflows and loose fiscal policies.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5576.

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Date of creation: May 1996
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 1996, No. 1 (vol. 27): 147-199
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5576
Note: IFM
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  1. Calvo, Sara & Reinhart, Carmen, 1996. "Capital flows to Latin America : Is there evidence of contagion effects?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1619, The World Bank.
  2. Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen Reinhart & Guillermo Calvo, 1992. "Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America: The Role of External Factors," IMF Working Papers 92/62, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1996. "Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Management: Tequila Lessons," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(3), pages 207-23, July.
  4. Guillermo A. Calvo & Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1994. "The Capital Inflows Problem: Concepts And Issues," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(3), pages 54-66, 07.
  5. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  7. Carlos A. Végh Gramont & Guillermo Calvo & Carmen Reinhart, 1994. "Targeting the Real Exchange Rate: Theory and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 94/22, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Rudger Dornbusch & Ilan Goldfajn & Rodrigo O. Valdés, 1995. "Currency Crises and Collapses," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 219-294.
  9. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela, 1999. "The twin crises: The causes of banking and balance of payments problems," MPRA Paper 14081, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Leonardo Leiderman, 1995. "Macroeconomics of Capital Flows to Latin America: Experience and Policy Issues," Research Department Publications 4012, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "Currency Crashes in Emerging Markets: Empirical Indicators," NBER Working Papers 5437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jeffrey A. Frankel., 1993. "Sterilization of Money Inflows: Difficult (Calvo) or Easy (Reisen)?," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C93-024, University of California at Berkeley.
  13. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Reinhart, Carmen & Khan, Mohsin, 1995. "Macroeconomic Management in APEC Economies: The Response to Capital Inflows," MPRA Paper 8148, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann, 1996. "The Roots of Banking Crises: The Macroeconomic Context," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 5819, Inter-American Development Bank.
  16. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew K & Wyplosz, Charles, 1994. "Speculative Attacks on Pegged Exchange Rates: An Empirical Exploration with Special Reference to the European Monetary System," CEPR Discussion Papers 1060, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Manuel Agosin & Ricardo French-Davis, 1997. "Managing capital inflows in Chile," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 24(2 Year 19), pages 297-326, December.
  18. Robert Brandon Kahn & Adam Bennett & María Vicenta Carkovic S. & Susan Schadler, 1993. "Recent Experiences with Surges in Capital Inflows," IMF Occasional Papers 108, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Leonardo Leiderman, 1995. "The Macroeconomics of Capital Flows to Latin America: Experience and Policy Issues," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 5821, Inter-American Development Bank.
  20. Classens, S. & Dooley, M.P. & Warner, A., 1995. "Portfolio Capital Flows: Hot or Cold," Papers 501, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  21. Hernandez, Leonardo & Rudolph, Heinz, 1995. "Sustainability of private capital flows to developing countries : Is a generalized reversal likely?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1518, The World Bank.
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