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The Role of Foreign Currency Debt in Financial Crises: 1880-1913 vs. 1972-1997

  • Christopher M Meissner

    (University of Cambridge)

  • Michael D Bordo

    (Rutgers University)

We show that exposure to foreign currency debt does not necessarily increase the risk of having a financial crisis. Some countries do not suffer from financial fragility despite original sin. Before 1913 British offshoots and Scandinavia afflicted with it avoided financial meltdowns. Today many advanced countries have original sin but few have had crises. In both periods, aggregate balance sheet mismatches are associated with a greater likelihood of a crisis. The evidence suggests that foreign currency debt is dangerous when mis-managed. This is part of the difference between developed countries and emerging markets both of which borrow in foreign currency.

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Paper provided by ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London in its series WEF Working Papers with number 0001.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wef:wpaper:0001
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  1. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher M. Meissner, 2007. "Financial Crises, 1880-1913: The Role of Foreign Currency Debt," NBER Chapters, in: The Decline of Latin American Economies: Growth, Institutions, and Crises, pages 139-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Obstfeld, Maurice & Taylor, Alan M., 2003. "Sovereign Risk, Credibility and the Gold Standard: 1870-1913 versus 1925-31," CEPR Discussion Papers 3688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Glick, R. & Hutchison, M., 1999. "Banking and Currency Crises: How Common are Twins?," Papers pb99-07, Economisch Institut voor het Midden en Kleinbedrijf-.
  4. Michael D. Bordo & Lars Jonung, 1996. "Monetary Regimes, Inflation And Monetary Reform: An Essay in Honor of Axel Leijonhufvud," Departmental Working Papers 199407, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  5. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2001. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," Sciences Po publications n°3077, Sciences Po.
  6. Andrew Berg & Catherine Pattillo, 1999. "Are Currency Crises Predictable? A Test," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 46(2), pages 1.
  7. Marc Flandreau, 2003. "Crises and Punishment : Moral Hazard and the pre-1914 international financial architecture," Sciences Po publications n°3742, Sciences Po.
  8. Morris Goldstein & Philip Turner, 2004. "Controlling Currency Mismatches in Emerging Markets," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 373, December.
  9. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann, 1999. "Exchange rates and financial fragility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 329-368.
  10. Reuven Glick & Ramon Moreno & Mark Spiegel, 2001. "Financial crises in emerging markets," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue mar.23.
  11. Meissner, Christopher M., 2005. "A new world order: explaining the international diffusion of the gold standard, 1870-1913," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 385-406, July.
  12. Ricardo J. Caballero & Kevin Cowan & Jonathan Kearns, 2005. "Fear of Sudden Stops: Lessons from Australia and Chile," Research Department Publications 4363, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  13. Michael Bordo & Barry Eichengreen & Daniela Klingebiel & Maria Soledad Martinez-Peria, 2001. "Is the crisis problem growing more severe?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 51-82, 04.
  14. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: an empirical treatment," International Finance Discussion Papers 534, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  16. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher Meissner & Angela Redish, 2003. "How "Original Sin" was Overcome: The Evolution of External Debt Denominated in Domestic Currencies in the United States and the British Dominions," NBER Working Papers 9841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza, 2003. "Currency Mismatches, Debt Intolerance and Original Sin: Why They Are Not the Same and Why it Matters," NBER Working Papers 10036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Luis Felipe Céspedes & Roberto Chang & Andrés Velasco, 2004. "Balance Sheets and Exchange Rate Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1183-1193, September.
  19. repec:rus:hseeco:124089 is not listed on IDEAS
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