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Crisis Prevention: Lessons from Mexico and East Asia

  • Sebastian Edwards

This paper provides a comparative analysis of the East Asian and Mexican crises, and draws lessons for the emerging economies. Although much of the discussion concentrates on East Asia and Mexico, I also draw on the history of some previous crisis episodes. I argue that in spite of the efforts to understand the anatomy of currency crises, there are still a large number of controversial and unresolved issues. More to the point, I argue that some of the lessons extracted from these crises are based on a misreading of the historical record. As a result, some of the policy implications that have emerged from this debate are, to say the least, questionable. In particular, I make two points: First, I argue that, in general, current account ratios have limited usefulness in determining a country's financial health. Although I fall short of taking the position that the current account is completely irrelevant, I do argue that a rigid interpretation of current account ratios may be highly misleading. Second, I argue that the rapidly growing popularity of controls on capital inflows as a device for reducing external vulnerability is rooted in a misreading of the recent history of external crises.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7233.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7233.

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Date of creation: Jul 1999
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Publication status: published as Harwood, A., R.E. Litan, and M. Pomerleano (eds.) Financial Markets and Development: The Crisis in Emerging Markets. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1999.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7233
Note: IFM
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Guillermo A. Calvo & Leonardo Leiderman & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1993. "Capital Inflows and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation in Latin America: The Role of External Factors," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 108-151, March.
  2. Sebastian Edwards, 1989. "Structural Adjustment Policies in Highly Indebted Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Developing Country Debt and Economic Performance, Volume 1: The International Financial System, pages 159-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sebastian Edwards & Julio A. Santaella, 1992. "Devaluation Controversies in the Developing Countries: Lessons From the Bretton Woods Era," NBER Working Papers 4047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Rose, Andrew K., 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: An empirical treatment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 351-366, November.
  5. Maurice Obstfeld, 1999. "Open-Economy Macroeconomics, Developments in Theory and Policy," NBER Working Papers 6319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "The twin crises: the causes of banking and balance-of-payments problems," International Finance Discussion Papers 544, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 1998. "Capital Flows to Emerging Markets: Liberalization, Overshooting, and Volatility," NBER Working Papers 6530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferrett & Assaf Razin, 1996. "Sustainability of Persistent Current Account Deficits," NBER Working Papers 5467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Sebastian Edwards, 1998. "Capital Inflows into Latin America: A Stop-Go Story?," NBER Working Papers 6441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ronald I. McKinnon & Huw Pill, 1996. "Credible Liberalizations and International Capital Flows: The "Overborrowing Syndrome"," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Deregulation and Integration in East Asia, NBER-EASE Volume 5, pages 7-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Michael Mussa & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Barry J. Eichengreen & Enrica Detragiache, 1998. "Capital Account Liberalization; Theoretical and Practical Aspects," IMF Occasional Papers 172, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Sebastian Edwards, 1992. "Exchange Rates as Nominal Anchors," NBER Working Papers 4246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Kevin Cowan & Jose De Gregorio, 1996. "Exchange rate policies and capital account management: Chile in the 1990s," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 465-488.
  14. Michael P. Dooley, 1997. "A Model of Crises in Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 6300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Calvo, Guillermo A & Mendoza, Enrique G, 1996. "Petty Crime and Cruel Punishment: Lessons from the Mexican Debacle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 170-75, May.
  16. Menzie D. Chinn, 1998. "Before the Fall: Were East Asian Currencies Overvalued?," NBER Working Papers 6491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1993. "On Exchange Rates," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061546, June.
  18. Michael P. Dooley, 1995. "A Survey of Academic Literatureon Controls Over International Capital Transactions," IMF Working Papers 95/127, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Morris Goldstein, 1998. "The Asian Financial Crisis," Policy Briefs PB98-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  20. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1999. "International Capital Movements, Financial Volatility and Financial Instability," NBER Working Papers 6390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Edwards, Sebastian & Edwards, Alejandra Cox, 1991. "Monetarism and Liberalization," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226184890, March.
  22. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Mendoza, Enrique, 1998. "Empirical Puzzles of Chilean Stabilization Policy," Working Papers 98-02, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  23. Eliane A. Cardoso & Ilan Goldfajn, 1997. "Capital Flows to Brazil-The Endogeneity of Capital Controls," IMF Working Papers 97/115, International Monetary Fund.
  24. Sebastian Edwards, 1998. "Capital Flows, Real Exchange Rates, and Capital Controls: Some Latin American Experiences," NBER Working Papers 6800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Takatoshi Ito, 1999. "Capital Flows in Asia," NBER Working Papers 7134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Takatoshi Ito, 2000. "Capital Flows in Asia," NBER Chapters, in: Capital Flows and the Emerging Economies: Theory, Evidence, and Controversies, pages 255-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. Reinhart, Carmen & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1994. "Capital inflows to Latin America," MPRA Paper 13406, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  28. 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.
  29. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti & Nouriel Roubini, 1998. "Paper tigers? A model of the Asian crisis," Research Paper 9822, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  30. Barry J. Eichengreen & Inci Ötker & A. Javier Hamann & Esteban Jadresic & R. B. Johnston & Hugh Bredenkamp & Paul R. Masson, 1998. "Exit Strategies; Policy Options for Countries Seeking Exchange Rate Flexibility," IMF Occasional Papers 168, International Monetary Fund.
  31. Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Assaf Razin, 1997. "Sharp Reductions in Current Account Deficits; An Empirical Analysis," IMF Working Papers 97/168, International Monetary Fund.
  32. Fischer, S. & Cooper, R.N. & Dornbusch, R. & Garber, P.M. & Massad, C. & Polak, J.J. & Rodrik, D. & Tarapore, S.S., 1998. "Should the IMF Pursue Capital-Account Convertibility?," Princeton Essays in International Economics 207, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
  33. Sergio, R., 1997. "What Happens When Countries Peg Their Exchange Rates? (The Real Side of Monetary Reforms," RCER Working Papers 441, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  34. Eichengreen, Barry & Rose, Andrew K, 1998. "Staying Afloat When the Wind Shifts: External Factors and Emerging-Market Banking Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 1828, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  35. Sergio Rebelo, 1997. "What Happens When Countries Peg Their Exchange Rates? (The Real Side of Monetary Reforms)," NBER Working Papers 6168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Reinhart, Carmen & Calvo, Guillermo & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1995. "Capital inflows to Latin America with reference to the Asian experience," MPRA Paper 13840, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  37. 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.
  38. Sebastian Edwards, 1997. "The Mexican Peso Crisis? How Much Did We Know? When Did We Know It?," NBER Working Papers 6334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Roberto Chang & Andres Velasco, 1998. "Financial Crises in Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 6606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Steven Radelet & Jeffrey Sachs, 1998. "The Onset of the East Asian Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 6680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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