Article | American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics | July 2014

Accounting for Crises

by Venky Nagar and Gwen Yu


We provide among the first empirical evidence consistent with recent macro global-game crisis models, which show that the precision of public signals can coordinate crises (e.g., Angeletos and Werning, 2006; Morris and Shin, 2002, 2003). In these models, self-fulfilling crises (independent of poor fundamentals) can occur only when publicly disclosed signals of fundamentals have high precision; poor fundamentals are the sole driver of crises only in low precision settings. We find evidence consistent with this proposition for 68 currency and systemic banking crises in 17 countries from 1983 to 2005. We exploit a key publicly disclosed signal of fundamentals that drives financial markets, namely accounting data, and find that pre-crisis accounting signals of fundamentals are significantly lower only in low precision countries.

Keywords: accounting; Forecasting and Prediction; financial crisis; Financial Markets; Corporate Disclosure; game theory; Mathematical Methods; Corporate Disclosure; Mathematical Methods; Game Theory; Financial Markets; Forecasting and Prediction; Accounting; Financial Crisis;


Nagar, Venky, and Gwen Yu. "Accounting for Crises." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics 6, no. 3 (July 2014): 184–213.