In this paper we develop a modified “early warning system” (EWS) approach to identifying the roles of domestic and external factors in Latin America’s crises. Several probit models of balance-of-payments crises, based on different identified sets of crisis dates, were estimated for six Latin American countries. These models were then used to identify the separate contributions to the probabilities of crisis of domestic and external variables. Our basic finding is that, when the effect of adverse external shocks is removed from the simulated probabilities of devaluation in Latin America, the resultant simulated devaluation probabilities are still high. Taken at face value, these results indicate that devaluation crises in Latin America primarily have been a function of domestic policy and economic imbalances, with exogenous external factors playing only a secondary role. All else equal, this suggests that the adoption of strongly fixed exchange rate regimes in the region may not be too costly in terms of diminished ability to respond to exogenous external shocks.
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Last update: July 19, 2001