Paper Tigers? a Model of the Asian Crisis

45 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 1999 Last revised: 11 Oct 2010

See all articles by Giancarlo Corsetti

Giancarlo Corsetti

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS); University of Rome III - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Paolo A. Pesenti

Federal Reserve Bank of New York; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nouriel Roubini

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 1998

Abstract

This paper develops an interpretation of the Asian meltdown focused on moral hazard as the common source of overinvestment, excessive external borrowing, and current account deficits. To the extent that foreign creditors are willing to lend to domestic agents against future bail-out revenue from the government, unprofitable projects and cash shortfalls are re-financed through external borrowing. While public deficits need not be high before a crisis, the eventual refusal of foreign creditors to refinance the country's cumulative losses forces the government to step in and guarantee the outstanding stock of external liabilities. To satisfy solvency, the government must then undertake appropriate domestic fiscal reforms, possibly involving recourse to seigniorage revenues. Expectations of inflationary financing thus cause a collapse of the currency and anticipate the event of a financial crisis. The empirical section of the paper presents evidence in support of the thesis that weak cyclical performances, low foreign exchange reserves, and financial deficiencies resulting into high shares of non-performing loans were at the core of the Asian collapse.

Suggested Citation

Corsetti, Giancarlo and Pesenti, Paolo A. and Roubini, Nouriel, Paper Tigers? a Model of the Asian Crisis (November 1998). NBER Working Paper No. w6783. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=139436

Giancarlo Corsetti

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) ( email )

Villa La Fonte, via delle Fontanelle 18
50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, Florence 50014
Italy

University of Rome III - Department of Economics ( email )

via Ostiense, 139
Rome, 00154
Italy
+39 06 5737 4056 (Phone)
+39 06 5737 4093 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Paolo A. Pesenti (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

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New York, NY 10045
United States
212-720-5493 (Phone)
212-720-6831 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Nouriel Roubini

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-998-0886 (Phone)
212-995-4218 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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