Essays on Currency Crises

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Title: Essays on Currency Crises
Authors: Karimi Zarkani, Mohammad
Date: 2012
Abstract: (None) Technical Summary of Thesis: The topic of my thesis is currency crisis. Currency crises have been a recurrent feature of the international economy from the invention of paper money. They are not confined to particular economies or specific region. They take place in developed, emerging, and developing countries and are spread all over the globe. Countries that experience currency crises face economic losses that can be huge and disruptive. However, the exacted toll is not only financial and economic, but also human, social, and political. It is clear that the currency crisis is a real threat to financial stability and economic prosperity. The main objective of this thesis is to analyze the determinants of currency crises for twenty OECD countries and South Africa from 1970 through 1998. It systematically examines the role of economic fundamentals and contagion in the origins of currency crises and empirically attempts to identify the channels through which the crises are being transmitted. It also examines the links between the incidence of currency crises and the choice of exchange rate regimes as well as the impact of capital market liberalization policies on the occurrence of currency crises. The first chapter identifies the episodes of currency crisis in our data set. Determining true crisis periods is a vital step in the empirical studies and has direct impact on the reliability of their estimations and the relevant policy implications. We define a period as a crisis episode when the Exchange Market Pressure (EMP) index, which consists of changes in exchange rates, reserves, and interest rates, exceeds a threshold. In order to minimize the concerns regarding the accuracy of identified crisis episodes, we apply extreme value theory, which is a more objective approach compared to other methods. In this chapter, we also select the reference country, which a country’s currency pressure index should be built around, in a more systematic way rather than by arbitrary choice or descriptive reasoning. The second chapter studies the probability of a currency exiting a tranquil state into a crisis state. There is an extensive literature on currency crises that empirically evaluate the roots and causes of the crises. Despite the interesting results of the current empirical literature, only very few of them account for the influence of time on the probability of crises. We use duration models that rigorously incorporate the time factor into the likelihood functions and allow us to investigate how the amount of time that a currency has already spent in the tranquil state affects the stability of a currency. Our findings show that high values of volatility of unemployment rates, inflation rates, contagion factors (which mostly work through trade channels), unemployment rates, real effective exchange rate, trade openness, and size of economy increases the hazard of a crisis. We make use of several robustness checks, including running our models on two different crisis episodes sets that are identified based on monthly and quarterly type spells. The third chapter examines the links between the incidence of currency crises and the choice of exchange rate regimes as well as the impact of capital market liberalization policies on the occurrence of currency crises. As in our previous paper, duration analysis is our methodology to study the probability of a currency crisis occurrence under different exchange rate regimes and capital mobility policies. The third chapter finds that there is a significant link between the choice of exchange rate regime and the incidence of currency crises in our sample. Nevertheless, the results are sensitive to the choice of the de facto exchange rate system. Moreover, in our sample, capital control policies appear to be helpful in preventing low duration currency crises. The results are robust to a wide variety of sample and models checks.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/20735
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-5505
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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