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A Theory of the Onset of Currency Attacks

  • Morris, S.
  • Shin, H.S.

The swiftness and devastating impact of recent financial crises have taken many market participants by surprise, and pose challenges for economists seeking a theory of the onset of a crisis. We propose such a theory based on two features. The actions of diverse economic actors which undermine the currency are mutually reinforcing, while the fragment nature of the media create small disparities in their information. In such circumstances, the beliefs of market participants can be tracked in the same way as the economic fundamentals, and an attach is triggered when the economic fundamentals deteriorate sufficiently to fall below the minimum level of market confidence necessary to support the currency. We give a characterization of such a minimum level of confidence.

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Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Economics Papers with number 149.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nuf:econwp:149
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  1. Hans Carlsson & Eric van Damme, 1993. "Global Games and Equilibrium Selection," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001088, David K. Levine.
  2. 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.
  3. Carlsson, H. & Van Dame, E., 1991. "Equilibrium Selection in Stag Hunt Games," Papers 9170, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld, 1995. "Models of Currency Crises with Self-Fulfilling Features," NBER Working Papers 5285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Edison, Hali J & Luangaram, Pongsak & Miller, Marcus, 1998. "Asset Bubbles, Domino Effects and 'Lifeboats': Elements of the East Asian Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1866, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Flood, Robert P & Garber, Peter M, 1984. "Gold Monetization and Gold Discipline," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 90-107, February.
  7. Salant, Stephen W & Henderson, Dale W, 1978. "Market Anticipations of Government Policies and the Price of Gold," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 627-48, August.
  8. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1998. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 587-97, June.
  9. Van Damme, E., 1991. "Equilibrium Selection in 2 x 2 Games," Papers 9108, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  10. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, . "Approximate Common Knowledge and Co-ordination: Recent Lessons from Game Theory," Penn CARESS Working Papers 72042421d029130510780dde2, Penn Economics Department.
  11. Morris, Stephen & Rob, Rafael & Shin, Hyun Song, 1995. "Dominance and Belief Potential," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 145-57, January.
  12. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1989. "The Electronic Mail Game: Strategic Behavior under "Almost Common Knowledge."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 385-91, June.
  13. Stephen W. Salant & Dale W. Henderson, 1976. "Market anticipations, government policy, and the price of gold," International Finance Discussion Papers 81, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  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. Atsushi Kajii & Stephen Morris, . "The Robustness of Equilibria to Incomplete Information," Penn CARESS Working Papers ed504c985fc375cbe719b3f60, Penn Economics Department.
  16. Werlang, Sérgio Ribeiro da Costa, 1988. "Common knowledge," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 118, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  17. W. R. M. Perraudin & Manmohan S. Kumar & Uma Moorthy, 2002. "Predicting Emerging Market Currency Crashes," IMF Working Papers 02/7, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Shin Hyun Song, 1993. "Logical Structure of Common Knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-13, June.
  19. Maurice Obstfeld, 1994. "The Logic of Currency Crises," NBER Working Papers 4640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Rational and Self-fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 72-81, March.
  21. Monderer, Dov & Samet, Dov, 1989. "Approximating common knowledge with common beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 170-190, June.
  22. 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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