Izquierdo, Alejandro Talvi, Ernesto Calvo, Guillermo A.
Year of Publication:
Working Paper, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 469
We offer an alternative explanation for t he fall of Argentinas Convertibility Program based on the countrys vulnerability to Sudden Stops in capital flows. Sudden Stops are typically accompanied by a substantial increase in the real exchange rate that wreaks havoc in countries that are heavily dollarized in their liabilities, turning otherwise sustainable fiscal and corporate sector positions into unsustainable ones. In particular, we stress that the required change in relative prices is larger the more closed an economy is in terms of its sup ply of tradable goods. By contrasting Argentinas performance relative to other Latin American countries that were also subject to the Sudden Stop triggered by the Russian crisis of 1998, we identify key vulnerability indicators that separated Argentina from its peers. We also provide an explanation for the political maelstrom that ensued after the Sudden Stop, based on a War of Attrition argument related to the wealth redistribution conflict triggered by the Sudden Stop and fiscal collapse. This framewo rk also provides elements to rationalize the banking crisis that accompanied the fall of Convertibility.