A crise em poucas palavras

Charles Wyplosz, uma das vozes mais lúcidas acerca a falar acerca da economia europeia, explica com simplicidade o mecanismo de disseminação da crise. E o que é que isso implica para a Itália, para os alemães e para o BCE. Italy’s ‘this time is different’ moment.

The underlying economic mechanism is self-fulfilling market expectations, a.k.a. multiple equilibria. Rightly or wrongly, once markets conclude that a country’ situation is hopeless:

  • Interest spreads start rising;
  • Debt service becomes explosive; and
  • The situation eventually becomes hopeless.

Back in 2009, Greece did not have to get into a crisis. Nor did Korea in 1997, nor Mexico in 1986, nor Chile in 1982. In all these cases, the fundamentals were less than rock-solid, but they were not completely disastrous either. In each case, once the crisis occurred, hard-nosed observers, who had failed to predict what was to happen, went on drawing a list of alarming policy failures that fully justified the crisis and the harsh treatment imposed on the now-delinquent country.

What we know full well, at least since Obstfeld (1986) and Krugman (1986), is that a crisis can (but does not have to) occur when a country suffers from a vulnerability. We also know that, once a self-fulfilling crisis occurs, it tends to spread in a contagious way. Research has still to unearth cases when a country that moved into a bad equilibrium was able to recover to a good equilibrium.


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