Many estimates of early-warning-system (EWS) models of currency crisis have reported incorrect standard errors because of serial correlation in the context of panel probit regressions. This paper documents the magnitude of the problem, proposes and tests a solution, and applies it to previously published EWS estimates. We find that (1) the uncorrected probit estimates substantially underestimate the true standard errors, by up to a factor of four; (2) a heteroskedasicity- and autocorrelation-corrected (HAC) procedure produces accurate estimates; and (3) most variables from the original models remain significant, though substantially less so than had been previously thought.
We examine the deep determinants of long-run macroeconomic stability in a cross-country framework. We find that conflict, openness, and democratic political institutions have a strong and statistically significant causal impact on macroeconomic stability. Surprisingly the most robust relationship of the three is for democratic institutions. A one standard deviation increase in democracy can reduce nominal instability nearly fourfold. This impact is robust to alternative measures of democracy, samples, covariates, and definitions of conflict. It is particularly noteworthy that a variety of nominal pathologies discussed in the recent macroeconomic literature, such as procyclical policy, original sin, and debt intolerance, have common origins in weak democratic institutions. We also find evidence that democratic institutions both strongly influence monetary policy and have a strong, independent positive effect on stability after controlling for various policy variables.
This paper reexamines the empirical relationship between financial development and economic growth. It presents evidence based on cross-section and panel data using an updated dataset, a variety of econometric methods, and two standard measures of financial development: the level of liquid liabilities of the banking system and the amount of credit issued to the private sector by banks and other financial institutions. The paper identifies two sets of findings. First, in contrast with the recent evidence of Levine, Loayza, and Beck (2001), cross-section and panel-data-instrumental-variables regressions reveal that the relationship between financial development and economic growth is, at best, weak. Second, there is evidence of nonlinearities in the data, suggesting that finance matters for growth only at intermediate levels of financial development. Moreover, using a procedure appropriately designed to estimate long-run relationships in a panel with heterogeneous slope coefficients, there is no clear indication that finance spurs economic growth. Instead, for some specifications, the relationship is, puzzlingly, negative.
Many inflation stabilizations succeed only temporarily. Using a sample of 51 episodes of stabilization from inflation levels above 40 percent, we show that most of the failures are explained by bad luck, unfavorable initial conditions, and inadequate political institutions. The evolution of trading partners' demand and U.S. interest rates captures the effect of bad luck. Past inflation affects the outcome in two different ways: a long history of high inflation makes failure more likely, while a high level of inflation prior to stabilization increases the chances of success. Countries with short-lived political institutions, a weak executive authority, and proportional electoral rules also tend to fail. After controlling for all these factors, we find that exchange-rate-based stabilizations are more likely to succeed. These findings are robust across measures of failure (two dichotomous and one continuous), sample selection criteria, and estimation techniques, including Heckman's correction for the endogeneity of the anchor.
We examine risk spreads charged on corporate bonds placed by emerging market borrowers on international exchanges. While global developments have an important effect on spreads, changes in firm-level default risk also matter significantly in a way consistent with theory and experience in mature markets. In contrast, except during periods of financial crisis, country factors play a limited role. These findings go against the supposition that limited information on emerging market firms or significant agency problems prevent firm-level credit discrimination by international investors. The firm-level information capitalization into spreads possibly reflects protection afforded by the exchange listing on international markets.
NADEEM U. HAQUE, KAJAL LAHIRI, and PETER J. MONTIEL
A small macroeconomic model based on familiar theoretical considerations is developed and estimated using data from 31 developing countries. Efficient estimation techniques are used to control for country heterogeneity under the assumption of rational expectations. The estimates and the test statistics suggest that the model could serve well as a framework for macroeconomic analysis of developing countries. The specification of the model allows the hypothesis of capital mobility to be explicitly tested, and the empirical analysis suggests that, on average, developing countries have exhibited a high degree of capital mobility.