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Realigning interests crisis and credibility in european monetary integration (europe in transition the NYU european studies series)


Realigning Interests


EUROPE IN TRANSITION: THE NYU EUROPEAN
STUDIES SERIES

The Marshall Plan: Fifty Years After
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Realigning Interests: Crisis and Credibility in European Monetary
Integration
By Michele Chang


Realigning Interests
Crisis and Credibility in
European Monetary Integration
Michele Chang


REALIGNING INTERESTS

© Michele Chang, 2004
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any
manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief
quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
First published 2004 by
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Union and other countries.
ISBN 1–4039–6438–6 hardback
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Chang, Michele.
Realigning interests : crisis and credibility in European monetary


integration / by Michele Chang.
p. cm.—(Europe in transition)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 1–4039–6438–6
1. Currency crises—European Union countries. 2. Monetary policy—
European Union countries. 3. European Union countries—Economic
integration. I. Title. II. Europe in transition (New York, N.Y.)
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First edition: June, 2004
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Printed in the United States of America.


To my family: Wayne, Adoracion,
William, and Robert


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Contents

List of Tables

ix

List of Figures

xi

Abbreviations

xiii

Acknowledgments
Chapter 1

Introduction

xv
1

Chapter 2 Rules and Norms of European Monetary
Cooperation

17

Chapter 3 Political Economy of Currency Crises and
Devaluation

41

Chapter 4

France, 1981–1986

61

Chapter 5

France, 1988–1995

89

Chapter 6 Italy: Domestic versus International Origins of
Currency Crises

125

Chapter 7

Ireland

141

Chapter 8

Conclusion

159

Notes

175

Sources

181

Index

195


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List of Tables

1.1
1.2
2.1
3.1
3.2
3.3
4.1
4.2
4.3
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5

5.6
5.7
5.8
5.9

Summary of arguments to be tested: theories
of currency crises
Summary of arguments to be tested: theories
of devaluation
EMS realignments against central rates 1979–1993
Expectation of exchange rate realignment, 1979–1993
Expectation of devaluation by country, 1979–1993
Devaluation 1979–1993
Ifop-RTL-Le Point poll on intentions to vote for the PS
Summary table of arguments on emergence of currency
crises and devaluation, 1981–1986
Summary table of arguments on devaluation in France,
1981–1986
Sofres poll on voters’ expectations of France’s
seven-year outlook
Intention to vote in the 1988 legislative elections (%)
Poll: “If the franc had been devalued against the mark,
do you think this would contribute to the . . .”
Predicted future distribution of seats in new
national assembly
Poll: “Do you hope that in the next legislative
elections voters will manifest their support for
Mitterrand and the current government or that the
voters will use this occasion to manifest their discontent?”
Summary table of French economic indicators,
1991–1994
Progress toward fulfilling Maastricht criteria: deficits and
debt as percentage of GDP
Poll: Do you think the following personalities would
make a good president of the Republic?
Intentions to vote in second round: Le Nouvel
Observateur polls

14
14
36
47
48
55
85
88
88
94
96
107
107

107
111
112
114
116


x



5.10
5.11
5.12
5.13
5.14
8.1
8.2
8.3

List of Tables

Intentions to vote in the second round: IFOPL’Express polls
First-round results of the presidential election
Second-round results of the presidential election
Summary table of arguments on the emergence of currency
crises in France, 1988–1995
Summary table of arguments on devaluation in France,
1988–1995
Accession countries’ EMU convergence, 2002
Economic indicators and the Maastricht Treaty
convergence criteria
Population, GDP, and growth rates of EU versus
accession countries

116
118
118
123
123
167
168
171


List of Figures

4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7
4.8
4.9
4.10
4.11
4.12
4.13
4.14
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5
5.6
5.7
5.8
5.9
5.10
5.11
5.12

Monthly inflation, 1981 electoral period
Quarterly current account balance, 1981 electoral period
Monthly reserves, 1981 electoral period
One-month Eurofranc interest rates, 1981 electoral period
Monthly inflation, 1983 electoral period
Quarterly current account balance, 1983 electoral period
Monthly reserves, 1983 electoral period
One-month Eurofranc interest rates, 1983 electoral period
Monthly inflation, 1986 electoral period
Quarterly current account balance, 1986 electoral period
Monthly reserves, 1986 electoral period
One-month Eurofranc interest rates, 1986 electoral period
Ifop-RTL-Le Point poll: Do you have a good opinion or
bad opinion of Mitterrand as president?
Poll: Do you have a good opinion or bad opinion of
Fabius as prime minister?
Monthly inflation, 1988 electoral period
Quarterly current account balance, 1988 electoral period
Monthly reserves, 1988 electoral period
One-month Eurofranc interest rates, 1988 electoral period
Le Nouvel Observateur polls: intentions to vote in the
first round, January–April 1988
Intention to vote in the second round,
Mitterrand versus Barre
Intention to vote in the second round,
Mitterand versus Chirac
Poll: Which of the following would make a good president
of the republic in the next seven years?
Monthly inflation rates, 1993 electoral period
Quarterly current account balance, 1993 electoral period
Monthly reserves during 1993 electoral period
Eurofranc interest rates, 1993 electoral period

63
64
65
66
72
73
73
74
81
82
83
84
85
85
92
92
92
93
95
95
96
96
104
105
105
105


xii

5.13
5.14
5.15
5.16
5.17
5.18
5.19
5.20
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4
6.5
6.6
7.1
7.2
7.3
7.4
7.5



List of Figures

Summary of polls on intentions to vote (%)
in 1993 election
Gallup-L’Express poll on approval of the prime minister
First-round intentions to vote
First-round intentions to vote
Monthly inflation, 1995 electoral period
Quarterly current account balance, 1995 electoral period
France monthly reserves, 1995 electoral period
One-month Eurofranc interest rates, 1995 electoral period
Italian elections and devaluations, 1979–1995
French elections and devaluations, 1979–1995
Current account balance and elections, 1979–1995
Inflation rate and elections, 1979–1995
Interest rates and elections, 1979–1995
Real exchange rates and elections, 1979–1995
Irish elections and devaluations, 1979–1996
Annual current account balance as percentage of GDP,
1979–1983
Exchange rates and elections in Ireland, 1979–1983
Quarterly current account balance, 1987 electoral period
Quarterly current account balance, 1989 electoral period

108
113
115
115
119
119
120
120
126
126
129
130
131
132
141
147
148
152
152


Abbreviations

AN
CERES
DC
DM
EC
EMS
EMU
ERM
EU
GDP
MSI
OECD
PCI
PD
PDS
PRI
PPI
PS
PSI
PSDI
RPR
STF
TD
UDF

National Alliance (Italy)
Centre d’études de recherches et d’éducation
socialistes (France)
Christian Democratic Party (Italy)
Deutsche mark
European Community
European Monetary System
European Monetary Union
Exchange Rate Mechanism
European Union
Gross Domestic Product
Italian Social Movement
Organization of Economic Cooperation and
Development
Italian Communist Party
Progressive Democrat (Ireland)
Democratic Party of the Left (Italy)
Italian Republican Party
Italian People’s Party
Socialist Party (France)
Italian Socialist Party
Italian Social Democratic Party
Rassemblement pour la Republique (France)
Short-Term Facility
Member of Parliament (Ireland)
Union pour la Démocratie Française (France)


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Acknowledgments

M

y greatest debt is to my adviser, Stephan Haggard. His guidance,
criticism, and encouragement made possible both my dissertation and the successful completion of this book. I also offer
my thanks and gratitude to the other members of my dissertation
committee: Neal Beck, Graham Elliott, Miles Kahler, Ross Starr, and
Kaare Strom.
Others who have assisted me in various ways by reading drafts, helping me in the research process, or talking through some of the ideas with
me include: David Andrews, Bill Bernhard, the Bundesbank Press
Office, Benjamin Cohen, Harold Colson, Russell Dalton, Paul
DeGrauwe, Jeff Frieden, John Freeman, Peter Gourevitch, Daniel Gros,
Peter Hall, Mark Harmon, Erik Jones, Peter Katzenstein, Peter Kenen,
David Lake, David Leblang, Arendt Lijphart, Ivo Maes, Mat
McCubbins, Kate McNamara, Jacques Mélitz, Michael Moran, Andrew
Moravscik, Thomas Oatley, Paul Papayoanou, Dennis Quinn, Kevin
Rask, Larry Ryan, Jerry Sheridan, Pierre Siklos, Chris Way, and participants of the 1995 Harvard Graduate Student Workshop, the 1995 APSA
meeting, the 1996 Conference of Europeanists, and the 1996 Institute
on Western Europe Graduate Student Conference. I also thank all those
who graciously allowed themselves to be interviewed for this book.
I would like to thank the following organizations for providing me
with funding: the Ford Foundation, the Institute on Global Conflict
and Cooperation, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, and
Colgate University’s Faculty Development Council. The University of
California, San Diego and Colgate University provided the institutional
support necessary to complete this book. I also thank my editors at
Palgrave, Anthony Wahl and Heather Van Dusen, for their role in bringing this book to completion. Venn Saltirov and Maura McClelland
provided excellent research assistance.
The following individuals offered much needed and much appreciated support during the writing of this book: Stephen Applebaum,
Alex Bergmann, Bob Bowman, Marci Bowman, Maureen Feeley, Bill


xvi



Acknowledgments

Griswold, Kathleen Hancock, Lisa Hilbink, Jamie Gerber, Chris
Harrison, Carolyn Hsu, Karen Leahy, Jennifer Smith, Cami Townsend,
and Ali Yegulalp. I would also like to thank the friends I made
in Europe, especially the Rothenburg Posse and my Dresden buddies,
for renewing my interest in Europe and giving me reasons to keep
going back.
Finally, I dedicate this book to my family: Wayne and Adoracion
Chang, my parents, and my brothers William and Robert. Through the
years, your belief in the importance of my education and your unwavering support allowed me to pursue my interests, and I thank you for all
that you have done.


CHAPTER 1

Introduction

W

hy do crises occur within fixed exchange rate systems? How
do governments react to currency pressure? With major
currency crises affecting both developed and developing
countries in the 1990s, identifying the variables that lead to currency
crises has become a major concern of both economists and political
scientists. While economic fundamentals play a large role in these
matters, an accepted model of currency crises has not yet been developed because such conditions do not necessarily predict the timing, size,
or duration of currency crises.
The onset of currency crises preoccupies analysts, but the resolution of
these crises also illustrates important political and economic dynamics.
Currency crises are not synonymous with devaluation; either can occur in
the absence of the other. What determines when and if a government will
devalue?
Elections and political instability can provide at least a partial answer
to both of these questions. First, we need to understand what factors
contribute to market valuations and make a currency vulnerable.
Second, we must determine how and why a government responds to
market attacks through either the defense of the currency, its devaluation, or both. Currency crises expose critical political interests and have
both international and national repercussions. Thus it should not be
surprising that many currency crises and devaluations occur during electoral periods, as government changes have serious consequences for the
country’s policy direction and therefore future economic conditions.
Monetary policy and other economic policies have the possibility of
changing in ways that would alter future economic conditions and
therefore the sustainability of the exchange rate. Factions within political parties jockey for dominance while competing parties and coalitions


2



Realigning Interests

do the same thing. Differences between the relevant political actors are
emphasized in order to distinguish policy objectives and to make a case
for why one party/faction should be the preferred choice of voters. This
endemic conflict in the political system during an election makes the
currency vulnerable to market speculation due to the uncertainty it
engenders about future policies and economic conditions.
Of course, neither currency crises nor devaluations occur in an international political vacuum. Maintaining a fixed exchange rate within a
regime such as the European Monetary System (EMS) (now European
Monetary Union (EMU)) involves sharing credibility and resources.
Participating countries draw on the resources and reputations of other
members in order to buttress their own currencies. Moreover, member
states decide on exchange rate realignments collectively. Therefore, the
shared nature of crisis management and resolution make an understanding of the dynamics between the countries as important as those occurring within the state that precipitated the crisis. Monetary cooperation
has always been connected with European cooperation in general, and
thus has important repercussions for foreign policy.
This book argues that electoral instability generates market speculation regarding the intentions of the future government. A close election
(or the lack of a dominant preference for a party/coalition) destabilizes
market expectations and provokes currency speculation. Despite such
market pressures, the incumbent government strives for continuity and
defends the currency until the election passes. Devaluation becomes
more feasible politically after an election has passed, and the government is more likely to favor devaluation at this time, if at all. Moreover,
the government may be able to enlist the assistance of its allies in holding off a currency crisis and in externalizing the adjustment costs. This
has important implications for theories of the international political
economy as well as international cooperation in general.

The Economics and Politics of Exchange Rates
Explaining Currency Crises
The central premise of this book is that explanations of exchange rate
instability must incorporate political analyses that can explain the timing
and severity of an exchange rate crisis. Economists have conducted the
bulk of the work on exchange rate crises, and the same economic factors
do not necessarily play the same role in each crisis. Current theories
also lack a sense of when a currency crosses a critical threshold that


Introduction



3

determines that economic conditions no longer support a given
exchange rate.
The first-generation work has focused on economic fundamentals as
the main cause of currency instability. As the government’s policies
become inconsistent with the maintenance of a given exchange rate
level, the defense of the currency depletes reserves until devaluation
becomes necessary (Krugman 1979). Though some argue that economic
fundamentals continue to drive exchange rate crises (Bordo and
Schwartz 1996; Goldstein et al. 2000), others counter that a single
exchange rate equilibrium does not exist. Therefore, economic fundamentals can support a range of different exchange rate values, provided
that markets expect the government to support those rates; governments
still retain considerable autonomy when making policy, despite rising
capital mobility (Lukauskas and Minushkin 2000; Mosley 2000). But if
the exchange rate is attacked, it may not be sustainable, even in the
absence of appreciable differences in economic fundamentals (Obstfeld
1986, 1996). This idea of a self-fulfilling speculative attack implies that
market expectations may be at least as important in explaining currency
crises as economic fundamentals. Government credibility becomes critical, and this necessarily hinges on politics. Market expectations of policy
change can have a similar effect to an actual policy change as markets
attempt to ascertain future economic conditions based on these expectations. If the market expects inflation to continue in a high-inflation
environment, these expectations lead to the selling of and depreciation
of the currency, which in turn exacerbate inflation. If markets believe a
government will act a certain way in the future, investors will try to act
first so as not to be caught by surprise.
Can governments control or at least influence these expectations?
Economists and political scientists have constructed a myriad of explanations regarding what makes an exchange rate credible. One of the primary
theories is that institutions, specifically and independent central bank,
contribute to government credibility by removing incentives to generate
surprise inflation or to manipulate the economy for political motivations.
By removing monetary policymaking from the hands of politicians,
governments delegate authority to a body with preferences geared toward
price stability rather than short-term political gains (Cukierman 1992).
Though institutional attributes like central bank independence may
affect the general trajectory of the exchange rate (with higher degrees of
central bank independence associated with lower inflation and a
stronger currency), such structural characteristics explain neither the
onset of a currency crisis nor its resolution. For example, countries like


4



Realigning Interests

France and Britain had politically weak central banks during the 1980s;
they also were prone to a greater number of currency crises and had
weaker currencies than countries with stronger central banks such as
Germany. France and Britain were not, however, in a perpetual state of
crisis. Though economic fundamentals may have been weak (high inflation posed a particularly vexing problem), pressure to devalue generally
came suddenly, as demonstrated by rapid flight of capital in the wake of
Socialist François Mitterrand’s 1981 electoral victory. The institution
(a weak central bank) remained constant, but the currency and threat of
crisis did not: what happened?
An alternative explanation of currency credibility rests on partisan
interpretations of policy formation (Leblang and Bernhard 2000).
Empirical analysis shows that macroeconomic outcomes have classrelated distributional effects in Britain, which have consequences for the
support of political parties (Hibbs 1982). Left governments prefer
higher growth while conservative governments favor price stability; left
governments may therefore be prone to implementing policies that
would reduce price stability. In the aforementioned example, the transition in France from a conservative president to a Socialist president
occurred concurrently with exchange rate pressure.
Another societal explanation emphasizes sectoral interests that may
defy traditional partisan interpretations of policy, as exchange rate levels
and volatility have differential effects on various economic sectors
(Frieden 1991). Actors extensively involved in international trade, for
example, would prefer exchange rate stability despite the loss of monetary sovereignty. Domestically oriented sectors, on the other hand,
would rather the government not fix the exchange rate and thus retain
the ability to form an independent monetary policy. Moreover, additional conflict may arise due to divergent interests on the level of
exchange rates.
Partisanship and explanations based on the preferences of various
economic sectors, however, also fail to explain the timing of currency
crises. Like institutional measures of government credibility, societal
accounts of exchange rate determination do not consider the rapidity
with which markets overturn previously accepted exchange rates. Why
did the Mitterrand election provoke capital flight in advance of the
formation of any policies or abrupt changes in economic conditions?
Understanding exchange rates requires an explanation not only of longrun determinants of currency valuation but how and why markets associate political change with economic change.


Introduction



5

Elections and changes in government can cause markets to shift
expectations regarding future policy. Elections also affect exchange rates
because they alter the current government’s willingness and ability to
maintain the exchange rate (Bernhard and Leblang 1999, 2002; Leblang
and Bernhard 2000). In Latin America, for example, the probability of a
large depreciation during normal times is only 3.84 percent. This figure
falls almost 40 percent immediately prior to elections to 2.66 percent,
indicating that incumbent governments prefer not to devalue before an
election, but the probability then jumps to almost 10 percent following
the inauguration of a new government, which may have different priorities and constituents (Frieden and Stein 2001: 15–16). Such behavior
can also be seen in European countries for similar reasons.
When a change in government is at hand, market expectations of
the incoming government’s preferences regarding the exchange rate can
be divided into three probabilities: (1) government preferences will be
unchanged, (2) government preferences will change, or (3) government
preferences are unknown.
In the first case, there is no reason to expect a correlation between
currency crises and political instability caused by the election or change
in government; any crises that occur in this instance would be attributed
to other factors. The second and third instances, however, present
markets with a challenge as to how to protect investments and circumvent any losses that could be generated by potential policy changes.
If markets expect the new government to have different preferences
than the most recent government, this provides forward-looking
markets with the incentive to act on this information in advance of the
actual change in government. The incoming government may represent
a different constituency than its predecessor, which could alter the level
of the exchange rate or even lead to the abandonment of a fixed
exchange rate system altogether, depending on how the existing system
affects the interests of the politically favored sectors. The aforementioned Frieden argument considers the different effects that fixed versus
flexible exchange rates have on various economic sectors in detail
(Frieden 1991, 1994). The effect of these expectations can be either
positive or negative in terms of the strength of the exchange rate. The
expectation of a government committed to price stability and a strong
currency, for example, could bolster the exchange rate as easily as the
opposite expectations could lead to capital flight. Thus the direction of
the exchange rate can vary depending on the interests of the future
government.


6



Realigning Interests

As noted earlier, this process need not be limited to elections but may
also apply to changes in government (Bernhard and Leblang 2002;
Leblang and Bernhard 2000). A factional change in either the ruling
coalition or ruling party could result in exchange rate instability. Within
a coalition government, the parties in the coalition could change or the
relative strength of the parties could shift in a way that favors different
economic policies. Even within a government composed of similar
parties in terms of left–right differences, substantial conflict can emerge
over policy as elections and government changes can consolidate power
in favor of one faction or another.
The government’s strength and coherence indicate its ability not only
to cope with a crisis swiftly and resolutely, but also its capacity to initiate policy adjustment. If the crisis erupts after a period of deteriorating
economic fundamentals, the government may be reluctant to stabilize
the economy because of the distributional consequences (Alesina and
Drazen 1991). Also, this may make it difficult for a party to claim credit
for formulating popular economic policies and implement tough choices
prior to an election (Frieden 1997). Thus stabilization would be delayed
until one side emerges as politically dominant and therefore may impose
the costs on the other side.
In addition to these problems, markets must also contend with the
possibility of not knowing the incoming government’s preferences. This
might stem from uncertainty regarding the outcome of the election
and/or the composition of a coalition government. This political instability creates a bias in forward exchange rates that indicates the shift in
market expectations as market actors try to make adjustments in anticipation of government changes (Bernhard and Leblang 2002).
Thus expectations of changing government preferences or uncertainty surrounding government preferences could cause changes with
regard to exchange rates that are less related to economic conditions than
early economic analyses have indicated. Even with the absence of changing economic conditions or official policy changes, forward-looking
markets can drive currency fluctuations during politically uncertain
times. Variables relating to electoral instability reduce the government’s
credibility and influence market expectations. A country undergoing an
election with either an uncertain outcome or an outcome expected to
change the direction of monetary and economic policy will be vulnerable to currency speculation.
The aforementioned arguments assume that markets look forward as
they act on their expectations of future economic conditions.
Presumably voters and other relevant actors could also see through any


Introduction



7

attempts at preelectoral manipulation of the economy and negate its
effects. This contrasts with the pre-rational expectations revolution
theorists (Nordhaus 1975) who argued for myopic voters who regarded
the government’s past record (rather than expectations of future deeds)
as the basis for evaluation. The possibility of contrariety between past
performance and future expectations presents an interesting conundrum
for analysts: if an economy weakens relatively gradually and a currency
crisis occurs during a period of government transition, to what extent
can the crisis be attributed to economic fundamentals as opposed to the
changing political conditions? For those who advocate an explanation
based on economic fundamentals, the question becomes one of timing.
Did the conditions reach that unknown threshold that made a currency
unsupportable at its current rate, or did a crisis occur in reaction to
political instability? Did political factors act as catalysts that precipitated
an economic crisis? Or alternatively, can political factors calm potentially volatile market forces? The “correct” policy and institutional mix
could prevent elections from triggering market jitters. Domestic as well
as international political factors can affect market speculation both
positively and negatively.
The prospect of international cooperation in managing exchange rate
levels can impact the onset and duration of a crisis. Participation in an
international regime like the EMS can stave off speculative attacks by
boosting the credibility of the currency peg. First, joining a multilateral
organization sends markets a signal of what type the government is.
Governments publicly proclaim their commitment to exchange rate
stability (and whatever other goals are involved in membership), and the
public nature of joining an exchange rate regime enhances the credibility of the pronouncement by raising the cost of defection. Membership
removes the ambiguity surrounding government goals and provides
governments with a clear blueprint for action. International obligations
constrain national policymakers’ ability to implement partisan policies
that could result in an electoral cycle (Lohmann 1993).
Second, exchange rate fluctuations are extremely easy to monitor and
deviations are very easy to spot. Deviation in the case of an exchange
rate commitment is particularly costly because devaluation decisions are
made jointly. The government and central bank have partially delegated
their authority to the international institution, making markets more
likely to believe in the government’s policy. Realignment negotiations
can become heated and it is within a government’s rights to request
another government to make costly concessions in exchange for realignment. A government may agree to cut public spending, for example, in


8



Realigning Interests

order to secure a realignment agreement from its partners. Cheating is
difficult when one is dealing with the exchange rate, and retribution is
possible for other countries if a partner slacks with regard to its commitment. The government can lose influence within the international organization and possibly risk exclusion. It can also lose any side-payments
that the government enjoyed while being a member of the system.
Third, audience costs raise the stakes for governments considering
breaking an international obligation (Fearon 1994; Martin 1993) are
higher. The international audience is larger and failure is highly visible.
Exchange rate fluctuations demand attention in a way that they did not
when the rates were floating. Frequent realignments signal the weakness
of a government and its inability to maintain its commitment. Although
realignments are technically permitted, if it happens too frequently it
goes against the spirit and purpose of the agreement, which is to create
a zone of monetary stability and to encourage the convergence of monetary policy. A fixed exchange rate system would become worthless if
currencies were realigned too readily because it would neither strengthen
a government’s credibility with markets, nor would it promote economic
coordination among participants.
Furthermore, membership in a regime can also benefit a country
suffering from a currency crisis. If a country has access to additional
funds via international arrangements, which countries participating in
the EMS did, this augments their power and increases the ability to
defend against speculative attacks by increasing available reserves.
Explaining Devaluation
While market expectations (based either on current conditions or expectations of future ones) affect the timing of currency crises, do they also
drive devaluation? According to rational expectations theory, markets
should be able to anticipate any opportunistic behavior on the part of
governments and to neutralize their effect. For example, in the political
business cycle literature, rational expectations prevent governments
from successfully generating economic cycles to create a preelection
boom because markets and the public would be able to anticipate
opportunistic behavior given past behavior (Cukierman and Meltzer
1986). If this were the case, one should not expect governments to
engage in opportunistic behavior regarding the timing of the devaluation
either. If markets and the public could predict that a government would
devalue after an election, the government would not be able to fool them
otherwise. Henceforth, the government would not have the discretion to
push the devaluation to a more politically palatable time period.


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