The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper proposes a model of contagious currency crises: crises transmit across countries by raising the risk premium on government bonds. Three types of equilibria can occur: a “no-collapse” equilibrium (crises never transmit from abroad); a “collapse” equilibrium (crises are inevitably contagious); or a “fundamentals” equilibrium (crises are contagious if domestic fundamentals are weak). A calibration exercise finds that the 1995 turmoil in Argentina coexisted with a combination of risk-averse investors and weak credibility in the currency board arrangement. This turmoil could only be attributed to a Tequila effect from the Mexican crisis alone if investors were excessively risk-averse.