Working Papers

2004-35 | May 2004


Dollar Bloc or Dollar Block: External Currency Pricing and the East Asian Crisis


This paper provides a quantitative investigation of the East Asian crisis of 1997-1999. The two essential features of the crisis that we focus on are (a) the crisis was a regional phenomenon; the depth and severity of the crisis were exacerbated by a large decline in regional demand, and (b) the practice of setting export goods prices in dollars (which we document empirically) led to a powerful internal propagation effect of the crisis within the region, contributing greatly to the decline in regional trade flows. We construct a model with these two features and show that it can do a reasonable job of accounting for the response of the main macroeconomic aggregates in Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand during the crisis.

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