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 develops a new index which provides early warning signals of a growth crisis in the event of large external shocks in low-income countries. Multivariate regression analysis and a univariate signaling approach are used to map information from a parsimonious set of underlying policy, structural, and institutional indicators into a composite vulnerability index. The results show that vulnerabilities to a growth crisis in low-income countries declined significantly from their peaks in the early 1990s, but have risen in recent years as fiscal policy buffers were expended in the wake of the global financial crisis.