Rational and Self-Fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises

26 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2004 Last revised: 26 Jul 2010

See all articles by Maurice Obstfeld

Maurice Obstfeld

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 1984

Abstract

The recent balance-of-payments literature shows that-speculative attacks on a pegged exchange rate must sometimes-occur if the path of the rate is riot to offer abnormal profit opportunities. Such attacks are fully rational, as they reflect the market's response to a regime breakdown that is inevitable.This paper shows that, given certain expectations about policy, balance-of-payments crises can also be purely self-fulfilling events. In such cases even a permanently viable regime maybreak down, and the economy will possess multiple equilibria corresponding to different subjective assessments of the probability of collapse. The behavior of domestic interest rates and foreign reserves will naturally reflect the possibility of a speculative attack. Work on foreign-exchange crises derives from the natural-resource literature initiated by Salant and Henderson (1978),where the definition of "abnormal" profit opportunities is straightforward. Because the definition is not always straight-forward in a monetary context, this paper also shows how crises occur in a discrete-time stochastic monetary model when an eventual breakdown is inevitable.

Suggested Citation

Obstfeld, Maurice, Rational and Self-Fulfilling Balance-of-Payments Crises (November 1984). NBER Working Paper No. w1486. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=334305

Maurice Obstfeld (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-643-9646 (Phone)
510-642-6615 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/obstfeld/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
77
Abstract Views
2,368
rank
312,250
PlumX Metrics