In view of the role of liability dollarization in recent financial crises, whether or not the widespread presence of foreign-currency-denominated deposits and credits in developing-country banking systems leads to greater financial fragility is an open and pressing question. Using a comprehensive dataset on deposit and credit dollarization for a large number of developing and transition economies, I find little evidence that high dollarization heightens the probability of banking crises or currency crashes. Furthermore, while empirical results suggest that banking crises and currency crashes are contractionary, there is no robust evidence that they are more costly in highly dollarized countries than in countries where dollarization is low. This extensive empirical search highlights that macroeconomic and exchange rate policies are far more important than bank dollarization in determining crisis risks and costs.
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Last update: August 21, 2002