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Prospective Deficits and the Asian Currency Crisis

  • Craig Burnside
  • Martin Eichenbaum
  • Sergio Rebelo

This paper argues that the recent Southeast Asian currency crisis was caused by large prospective deficits associated with implicit bailout guarantees to failing banking systems. We articulate this view using a simple dynamic general equilibrium model whose key feature is that a speculative attack is inevitable once the present value of future government deficits rises. This is true regardless of the government's foreign reserve position or the initial level of its debt. While the government cannot prevent a speculative attack, it can affect its timing. The longer the delay, the higher inflation will be under flexible exchange rates. We present empirical evidence in support of the three key assumptions in our model: (i) foreign reserves did not play a special role in the timing of the attack, (ii) large losses in the banking sector were associated with large increases in governments' prospective deficits, and (iii) the public knew that banks were in trouble before the currency crisis.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6758.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6758.

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Date of creation: Oct 1998
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Publication status: published as Burnside, Craig, Martin Eichenbaum and Sergio Rebelo. "Prospective Deficits And The Asian Currency Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, 2001, v109(6,Dec), 1155-1197.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6758
Note: EFG IFM
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  1. Ariel T. Burstein & Joao C. Neves & Sergio Rebelo, 2000. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based-Stabilizations," NBER Working Papers 7862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1998. "Prospective Deficits and the Asian Currency Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 2015, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1996. "Models of currency crises with self-fulfilling features," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 1037-1047, April.
  8. van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1985. "Fiscal Deficits, Exchange Rate Crises and Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 87, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Pesenti, Paolo & Roubini, Nouriel, 1999. "What caused the Asian currency and financial crisis?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-373, October.
  13. Michael P. Dooley, 1997. "A Model of Crises in Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 6300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti & Nouriel Roubini, 1998. "Paper tigers? A model of the Asian crisis," Research Paper 9822, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  15. Timothy D. Lane & Marianne Schulze-Gattas & T. M. Tsikata & Steven Phillips & Atish R. Ghosh & A. Javier Hamann, 1999. "IMF-Supported Programs in Indonesia, Korea and Thailand," IMF Occasional Papers 178, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Steven Radelet & Jeffrey Sachs, 1998. "The Onset of the East Asian Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 6680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Dupor, Bill, 2000. "Exchange rates and the fiscal theory of the price level," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 613-630, June.
  18. Maurice Obstfeld, 1984. "Speculative Attack and the External Constraint in a Maximizing Model of the Balance of Payments," NBER Working Papers 1437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
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  22. Koenig, Evan F, 1987. "The Short-run 'Tobin Effect' in a Monetary Optimizing Model," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(1), pages 43-53, January.
  23. 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.
  24. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Feenstra, Robert C, 1985. "Anticipated Devaluations, Currency Flight, and Direct Trade Controls in a Monetary Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 386-401, June.
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