Behavioral Finance Financial Decision Making

Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Financial Decision

Behavioral finance and financial decisions have a big role in shaping critical decisions that people make. The study summarizes the facts about financial choices and the behavioral and psychological theories influencing them. We learn that people have predisposed cognitive constraints coupled with low levels of financial literacy, in such regard, their decision-making choices violate sound financial principles. The case studies teach us that most investors and managers over-extrapolate from past returns and trade, or they make decisions based on overconfidence and personal history.

We explain most of these behaviors based on behavioral finance theories like prospect theory, behavioral finance, and behavioral corporate finance. Many companies and institutions today shy away from traditionally defined benefit pension plans in favor of defined contribution plans, in such circumstance, the role of the financial adviser is gaining an integral value.

In this case study, a recent graduate from UMUC is employed to advise different clients on investment. The consultant delves into studying the biases in financial behavior that predict prospective theory. While applying the key concepts of behavioral finance, the consultant can recognize that the client (Violet) displays behavioral biases that impede optimal savings and consumption allocation. He can learn this by deducing from concepts of finance that assess how people organize their financial assets by creating separate slots for money designated for specific roles as well as other approaches such as mental accounting.

Expected Utility and Prospect Theory:

Unlike most of the economic theories, Expected utility theory is the most preferred by scholars ((Shiller, Robert J.). The approach attracts people because it has the best economical representation characterizing true rational behavior in uncertain situations. However, application of expected theory is criticized in many circumstances because of the systematical misrepresentation of human behavior.

Allais (503) proved that Prospect Theory refers to a mathematically developed theory that substitutes “value function” contrasted to “utility function” and “weights” contrasted to “probabilities” in expected utility theory. Here, people work to increase the weighted total value instead of utility such that probabilities do not equal weight. Simply put, people view extremely probable as certain but the improbable events as impossible.

In many circumstances, prospect theory appears inconsistent with expected utility theory. To begin with, in probabilities, utility is all linear but not value. Also, value is defined regarding losses and profits, but utility depends on final wealth.

Contrary to expected utility theory, prospect theory foretells that preferences depend on how a problem is approached. In case the reference point defines the outcome as an advantage, in this case, the resulting value function will be curved in, and those making decision will be risk-averse.  But if the reference point’s outcome is seen as a loss, those making decisions will be risk seeking since is a convex value function.

Violations of Expected Utility

The possible abuses of this theory include the Allais paradox (certainty effect), and inflation of small probabilities. As for Allais paradox, there is an extreme underweighting of high probabilities. In such a case, it falls short of certainties such that the travel time outcomes become extremely attractive. On the other hand, inflation of small probabilities violation projects itself in the form of a set of stated-preference route-choice challenges.

Value Function

The definition of the value function lies on variations from a reference point, and in most circumstances, it is risk aversion–concave for gains, convex for losses. Similarly, value function is acute for losses than for profits. In this case, the stress of decisions is less compared with the equivalent probabilities, with few exceptions in the assortment of low probabilities. A value strategy deals with the purchase of stocks that have low prices compared with the dividends, earnings, book assets, or similar measures of significant value.

The Implications of Prospect Theory for the Efficient Market Hypothesis

An efficient market, based on the definition by (Fama 1965), is characterized by a large pool of rational profit maximizers who compete against each other to interpret the market prices of individual securities in the years to come; out of which a large pool of the present information is easily available to all participants. The prevailing competition in such a market opens the effects of new information on the actual prices in an instantaneous way. In such a way, the prospect theory sets in under the circumstance that makes stock price unpredictable following a random pathway.

Provided that information flow is unrestricted and quickly reflects in the stock price, the probability for the future price to change will depend not on today’s price changes, but on tomorrow’s news. Given that news is unpredictable, consequently, price changes also turnout unpredictable, and this conforms to the principle of prospect theory whereby people view extremely probable as certain but the improbable events as impossible.

Efficient Market Hypothesis is characterized by the security prices that reflect available information. It is based on the traditional view that investors use rationale in executing the present information to increase the expected utility.

Anomalies

The Anomalies of Efficient Market Hypothesis’ set in when people feel there is something wrong with the concept of Efficient Market Hypothesis. Under such conditions, the rational approaches of investors lacks consistence. It is not wholly right and must be analyzed alongside other human behavior approaches like the prospect theory, overconfidence, or expected utility, or over and under reaction, as well as the limits to arbitrage. Examples of anomalies as expressed by prospect theory include the size, valuation, and the momentum effect.

  1. The Valuation Effect. Studies reveal that firms with higher P/B multiples are outperformed by those with low price/book (P/B) multiples.
  2. The Size Effect. Studies predict that firms with smaller market capitalizations outperform those with large market capitalizations, disregard of the controls in their higher risk.
  3. The Momentum Effect. Studies reveal that firms with good performance for the past six months to one year period outperform those that performed poorly over the same period.

Bias identification and how such behavioral finance concepts affect their investment decisions

The First Colleague: The Concept of Illusion of Control

The stated bias happens when people overly justify their ideas. It describes people’s propensity to believe that they can exert influence on the outcomes of action when, in the real sense, they cannot. When this kind of bias occurs, people behave as if they can fully control their situations than they actually can ((Ising, Alexander).

The first colleague responds by claiming to know the technology industry and is determined to invest in them. While he might have worked in the industry for a while, it is not justifiable to assume that the circumstances will prevail in the long run. He is preoccupied with the illusion of control bias.

However, the illusion of control bias can be financially damaging since entrepreneurs might be motivated to trade more than what is right. It may lead them to employ limit orders, maintain under-diversified portfolios, or other related means just to express a false sense of influence over their trade portfolios.

People who practice this bias find it hard acceding with the irrationality and the changing nature of markets and the fact that their expectation is a failed one. The outcome is a spiral of investment catastrophe with the rationalization that while their belief is right, the one who drove the buttons was so incompetent.

In the long run, the investor becomes overconfident. The consequences of long-term investment may not be affected by the immediate-term opinion, emotions, and impulses that frequently engulf financial transactions. Rather, the success or lack of it emanates from uncontrollable factors such as the prevailing economic conditions and corporate performance.

The Second Colleague: Confirmation Bias

According to the second colleague, the value of commercial property in the city has maintained a 14% increase since the year 2000 reported a famous newspaper article. Now, this is almost two decades down the line. It is very unbelievable to assert that the value of the property has remained consistent over such a lengthy period, and very few investors would settle on that. However, depending on the interest of the reader and the prevailing circumstance, we can only assume that the type of newspaper is biased towards such reports and that the investor too is biased and love reading similar reports.

According to confirmation bias, individuals are drawn to information that substantiates their existing perceptions. It is just similar when a person prefers watching news from a TV channel that represents his/her political views while evading those that feature commentators of divergent opinions. Similarly, people behave in the like manner concerning their financial issues. Entrepreneurs believe in the market conditions will make them walk toward information sources that validate such a belief.

While it is acceptable to attach an emphasis to the consequences of our aspirations, for example, investing heavily in the stock of the firm you’re working for, it poses significant risks when it comes to diversification. If you should overcome confirmation bias, stress must be levied on obtaining information from various.

The Third Colleague: Depicting Recency Bias

Recency bias is a cognitive intrusion that encourages to perceive the most recent information as more relevant compared to the old knowledge. However, this may not be necessarily true. People base their investment decisions on how the market has been recently performing. The exact state is seen on the third respondent whose investment decisions in the Omega Corporation are drawn from the current state of the company and industry. She denotes that from the decline of the industry to capitalize on her investments since she presumes that case to remain constant for some time.

Most entrepreneurs have the inclination to follow investment performance by investing more in the industry when it is peaking and just about to reverse. Given that the investment has been picking up recently, investors anticipate that to remain the case. However, based on the behavioral theory, it would be wrong for her to rely on this approach to make financial decisions. In most circumstances, people do extrapolate from recent performance and employ them as a signal of future performance which is very wrong. Consequently, entrepreneurs fall into the ploy of over-purchasing the now outperforming asset and under-own the now drifting asset.

Behavioral Finance Dissertation
Behavioral Finance Dissertation

Behavioral Finance and Investments

Siosan’s utility function. Contrasted with that assumed in traditional finance theory

Traditional finance posits that humans are risk-averse, they love greater certainty than limited certainty and have a perfect utility function. Conversely, behavioral theorists assume that people display multiple characteristics and while they may be risk-averse, they may also be risk-seeking, risk-neutral, or any blend of the three. Depending on how things present themselves influences decision making.

The utility function measures an individual’s preferences over a set of products, measured in units referred to as utils. Utils exemplify the level of satisfaction of a consumer from choosing a specific type or number of products. Traditional finance is built on the utility theory with an assumption of diminishing marginal return. On the other hand, Behavioral theorists assume that human beings don’t always act in their best financial interests.

Appropriate in this case study, the utility function specifies the satisfaction of an investor out of all possible combinations. For example, an investment with low risk and high return has a bigger utility than that with high risk and low gain. This kind of function represents both their welfare along with their preferences. Violet expresses utility function that follows the behavioral approach. She wants to spend more. However, she’s quite unaware of the circumstances of tomorrow reflected in her limited investments. Under a traditional approach, Violet would either invest or not invest at all. It would be that she has knowledge of the future market or she does not, and if she lacks, her utility function would be concave. She would spend less just to avoid the risks in the future.

Similarly, she purchases expensive goods like cars and takes vacations for her satisfaction although, she feels reluctant to incur debts. This is opposed to traditional finance that assumes a diminishing marginal utility; Violet proposes utility function that will always satisfy her interests and won’t diminish. Violet expresses some mix of traditional and behavioral approach in some part, and traditional finance is reflected in the way she detests debts. Albeit, she does little to avert those debts, thus in part demonstrating a behavioral approach.

Siosian’s Behavioral Biases and how a rational economic individual in traditional finance would behave differently concerning each bias

Various cognitive predispositions cause several behavioral biases or under-saving inclinations. This is according to the perception by behavioral scientists who present several biases that emanate from such predispositions by grouping them into three categories. Such include preference biases, perceptions of prospects, perceptions on how to make decisions bearing in mind the rest of variables, and price perceptions. The typical behavioral bias presented in this case is the preference bias, and it manifests itself in the form of the self-control, loss aversion, and anticipatory utility.

Costly self-control bias- Living for today

Behaviorists propose that many people struggle with self-control in various fields. It may present itself through over-eating, under-saving, or over-snoozing, what we can call as “living for today”. Approaches to costly self-control also suggest that such people will value commitment such that they will choose, and even pay, to limit their future decision in some way, in an attempt to discourage their future over-consumption predilections.

However, in this case, study, Violet fits this model of costly self-control bias. We find that she engages in costly endeavors like buying expensive cars and paying for expensive meals in upscale vacation resorts. She does this at the expense of investing. In fact, she would do all the best she can to live a luxurious life while doing little on her mortgage and other investments. Her approach is behavioral and contrary to how traditional theorists would behave since they would fear the risks of tomorrow and would spend less on consumption and be concerned about the future.

Loss Aversion

The bias is comparative to some reference point like current consumption, or friends’ consumption. Loss aversion may also be seen as a potential threat to consumers leveraging their savings rates. People fear more to invest in their view of avoiding losses (Thaler, Richard, and Shlomo 164-187).

Loss aversion occurs when people easily notice the reduction in investment portfolio more than how they view gains, and this may be even when the profits are greater. They frequently get upset when they lose money during the market recession such that they remember those losses forever, but they would hardly remember the time they made 40-percent increase, just the time they lost 30-percent. We can state that Violet has an outspoken loss aversion bias when she says she detests making losses. Given that she has very little investment but high expenditure, this might be the reason why she rarely invests. Her approach reflects a traditional finance theory that assumes people are risk-averse.

Siosian’s Retirement Portfolio and Justification

Violet’s retirement portfolio is such that she maintains a minimal retirement plan where she deposits half the sum of money coming from her annual bonuses and none-salary incomes. On the other, we notice that she runs a very small mortgage and limited investments that can sustain her. Basing on such decisions, her retirement portfolio is so inefficient.

The Social Security Administration posits that on average, a 65-year pensioner can expect to stay for the next 18–20½ years after quitting the job (Benz par 3). Nonetheless, health advancements now make people stay for more years, and it would be advisable that you schedule a retirement portfolio of 30 or more years, and in such a case, the retirement saving plan becomes so essential. Rather than just depositing money in the portfolio, it should be used in investment opportunities to generate more wealth for old age. The objective is remaining invested—and that implies having some part of the money assigned to stocks, but in the right standing with other investments.

The objective of investing retirement portfolio is to generate a mix of investments that merge to preserve capital, create income, and expand. Such a combination of stock, bond and cash investments must be in line with age, income, financial needs, time, and risk. For this reason, we can say Violet’s retirement portfolio is very weak and inappropriate (Williams par 6).

Behavioral Corporate Finance

MEMO

TO: CFO

FROM:

DATE: 28/04/2019

RE: Recent Behavioral Finance Literature dealing with the Board of Directors.

We can study behavioral finance featuring the panel of executives under the concept of corporate governance ((Shivdasani, Anil, and Marc Zenner). Management of financial institutions has taken a different approach given the attrition of the significance of corporate governance in guiding financial decisions. Albeit, this is very recent studied by contemporary economists who assert the role of the board of governors in guiding the company’s value creation and improved financial performance particularly during this onset of consistent corporate flaws. Many companies have since collapsed, examples of Lehman Brothers, Rank Xerox, and Enron just to name a few, all blamed the faulty board of governors (Shivdasani, Anil, and David Yermack).

We have several lessons to learn from this shrinking–specifically–there is one lesson that stands out clear–the role of corporate governance in determining its capacity to contest positively particularly in stormy environmental conditions where others strive hard to exits.

Contemporary literature on behavioral finance vis-à-vis corporate governance emanates from Adolph, Berle and Means (23) study where they assert that, in reality, managers of companies sought their interest at the expense of the shareholders’ interests.  Their investigation stressed the need for an effective plan to help aid in mitigating the conflict of interests between company owners and managers. Therefore, while the concept of corporate governance might appear new, it addresses typical concerns present since time long (Ayuso, Silvia, and Argandoña 2-19).

Many countries, corporations, and agencies across the globe have started to respond to the corporate flaws by initiating a series of legislation and guidelines that guide decisions of the board of governors in financial implications. Such rules are referred to as the codes of best practices. These legislations guide the behavior and structure of the board of directors while doing their monitory and supervisory duties (Shivdasani, Anil, and David Yermack).

Such codes, though, issued in different regions, they have similar peculiarities regarding corporate culture and general corporate environment, and alignment of the interest of parties (Shareholders and Management). Corporate governance codification of governance aims at mitigating the corresponding deficiencies in or lack of appropriate shareholders shields (Shivdasani, Anil, and David Yermack).

Your Future and Behavioral Finance Post 2008

Behavioral Finance Lessons during and after the Great Recession

Several themes emerge drawing from the issues aired by Stephanie pertaining behavioral finance during and after the great recession. While the economic downturn attracted several consequences on the corporate world, I believe the corporate directors and other stakeholders had the mandate to prevent its occurrence, and correspondingly, they can stop the reoccurrence of the same by studying behavioral finance theories. The recession affected the entire globe since businesses collapsed, and many people lost jobs and houses. However, I believe that if financial behaviorist can avoid a repeat of the 2008 great recession, they should derive from behavioral finance theories, Shefrin and Staman reports this in their book, ‘Behavioral Finance in the Financial Crisis’.

Several factors drew the crisis, and such factors persist that perpetuate the current crisis. They include; a weak government regulation, investment banks that exceedingly leverage debts, and strained homeowners’ finances. We can explain the consequences of 2008 crisis from a financial theory basis. While traditional economics base their assumptions of rationality, they assert that people make rational economic choices as they try to maximize their earnings. On the contrary, behavioral economists assume that people make their financial selections based on their emotions psychological conditions, as well as on cognitive errors.

The 2008 crisis is best explained by the principles of behavioral economics. Here, we find a correlation of the crisis with the overly optimistic lending behaviors of people since such is connected to the stock market fluctuations even as witnessed currently. Psychologists have effectively documented the propensity of people to perceive the through rose-tinted lenses, often referred to as the optimism bias.

Much of the 2008 crisis revolved around financial psychology. We can study psychology as part of the behavioral finance theory. In essence, it incorporates aspects like overconfidence, perception and cognition, aspirations, emotions, and culture (Morgenson, Gretchen and Joshua Rosner).

Overconfidence– Behavioral economists had warned of the inhibiting economic crisis. While banks, businesses, and many corporations received such warnings, many were overconfident in their investments. Overconfidence Before the great 2008 recession, economists warned that the economy was going under. Entrepreneurs were such overconfident such that they hardly analyzed the risk of holding such huge portfolios in mortgage-backed securities, provided the threat of being in a bubble. Most of the homeowners took out loans just to satisfy the American dream — they purchased during a bubble overconfident that housing prices would skyrocket and remain persistent.

However, an increase in the housing market, and the stock market, only works to raise people’s overconfidence since they would ascribe the gains or losses they achieve as a result of their proficiency in finance, although, it results from market moods.

Recency bias was one implication that cultivated the crisis. That’s because entrepreneurs make choices based on the most recent information. Decisions may be constructed on the very latest feedback. Although, such information may not be primarily relevant. During the time, investors overreacted because of the congress’s finance rescue project.

Similarly, people’s emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness influence the type of decisions made, including economic choices. More fearful people become risk-averse, but more angry people become more enthusiastic to incur risks, even financial risks. As for the economic downturn, people had others in mind to accuse of the financial crisis. Take the example of Wall Street banks that became so angry such that they easily took the financial risk to punish the offenders.

Behavioral economists assume that the kind of financial errors made aren’t haphazard, and the choice made too aren’t fundamentally rational. Rather, they are built on psychological conditions such as cognitive errors and biases.

In our attempts to evade the similar crisis in our market, we can learn a lot from the economic downturn of 20008 and the related occurrences of the past. For instance, the 1974-75 economic recession almost resembled the 2007-2009 crisis. On the same note, the twin Reagan-era recessions of the 1980s had profound consequences such as joblessness and a subsequent S&L and sovereign debt crunch. The 1990s foreign currency crisis mandated an immediate discarding of the Long-Term Capital Management without interfering with the worldwide economic system. Just like Lipsky reports, the 2008 housing bubble was a consequence of a simmering stock market.

Hindsight bias wrongly predisposes us to imagine we can see and analyze the future crises pretty well the way we do the previous and establish strategies that would impede future crises. However, we are limited to devise policies that can avert future crises should we even be able to identify them since those who would lose are in our paths standing against us. No doubt restraining bank leverage would do some good; nonetheless, bankers have the smack to strangle it. Consequently, we have a few decision left–our psychological fallibilities. Assessing our psychological biases will work a great deal in averting and mitigating some crises.

Conclusion

From the discussion above, behavioral finance case studies focus on determining the clear-cut direction to which various market forces—such as rational analysis of organization-specific and macroeconomic basics; cultural, human and social psychology trends—affect investors and managers expectations and define their level of confidence.

Works Cited

Adolph, Berle, and Gardiner Means. The Modern Corporation and Private Property. New York, NY, Macmillan, 1932.

Allais, M. “Le Comportement De L’homme Rationnel Devant Le Risque: Critique Des Postulats Et Axiomes De L’ecole Americaine.” Econometrica, vol 21, no. 4, 1953, p. 503. JSTOR.

Ayuso, Silvia, and Antonio Argandoña. “Responsible Corporate Governance: Towards A Stakeholder Board of Directors?” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2009, p.2-19. Elsevier BV.

Benz, C. “The Bucket Investor’s Guide to Setting Asset Allocation for Retirement.” News.Morningstar.Com, 2016, par 3.

Ising, Alexander. “Pompian, M. (2006): Behavioral Finance And Wealth Management – How To Build Optimal Portfolios That Account For Investor Biases.” Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, vol 21, no. 4, 2007, pp. 491-492. Springer Nature.

Lipsky, J. Overcoming the Great Recession An Address to the Japan National Press Club, Remarks by John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, at the Japan National Press Club, Tokyo, May 18, 2009. Tokyo: Japan National Press Club, 2009.

Morgenson, Gretchen, and Joshua Rosner. Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, And Corruption Led To Economic Armageddon. New York, New York, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012.

Shefrin Hersh, &Meir Statman. Behavioral Finance in the Financial Crisis: Market Efficiency, Minsky, and Keynes. Santa Clara: Santa Clara University, 2011.

Shiller, Robert J. “Bubbles, Human Judgment, and Expert Opinion.” Financial Analysts Journal, vol 58, no. 3, 2002, pp. 18-26. CFA Institute.

Shivdasani, Anil, and David Yermack. “CEO Involvement in the Selection Of New Board Members: An Empirical Analysis.” The Journal of Finance, vol 54, no. 5, 1999, pp. 1829-1853. Wiley-Blackwell.

Shivdasani, Anil, and Marc Zenner. “Best Practices In Corporate Governance: What Two Decades Of Research Reveals.” Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, vol 16, no. 2-3, 2004, pp. 29-41. Wiley-Blackwell.

Thaler, Richard H., and Shlomo Benartzi. “Save More Tomorrow™: Using Behavioral Economics To Increase Employee Saving.” Journal of Political Economy, vol 112, no. S1, 2004, pp. S164-S187. University Of Chicago Press.

Williams, Rob. “Plan, Allocate and Distribute: Structuring Your Retirement Portfolio for Your Income Needs.” Par 6. Schwab Brokerage, 2017.

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Psychological Testing Research Paper

Measurement is a very critical aspect of any psychology topic or basically, in all psychology sub- areas. Every psychologist is usually concerned with measuring the children`s intelligence, creativity and also in measuring their moral development. The psychological tests are used to help the clients learn what careers are best for them. This is based on the interests and the abilities of the clients. Similarly, in this course, description of how learning occurred and how learning can be facilitated in the near future. Therefore, psychological testing is the use of psychological tests, which are ideally designed to be an objective and the standardized measure of a sample of behavior (Garber and Simon, 2017).

Psychological assessment is the main process of testing that makes use of a combination of techniques to help realize some given hypothesis about a person and their behavior, personality, and capabilities. From the description of psychological assessment, it has been defined as an act of performing a psychological battery on an individual. It is also the process of psychological testing (Garber and Simon, 2017). This research paper will, therefore, address different types of psychological tests, various theories in psychological tests and also a variety of standardized tests of intelligence, personality, achievement, interest, neuropsychology and several other areas of psychological testing as described in the Course description.

Psychological Testing Principles

Emphasizes the principles by which psychological tests are conducted is quite important. There are several contradictions when it comes to the use of psychological tests. Psychological tests should be well examined to ensure that, there is valid, appropriate and also the fair use of psychological tests.

There are key concepts that are discussed in this research paper and these include studying the importance of psychological testing (Garber and Simon, 2017). Psychological testing allows researchers and psychologists to make concrete decisions about people, early school placement, military job selections and also in other fields like college entry behavior. Secondly, based on our course teachings, psychological testing allows us to vividly describe and also understand an individual`s real behavior (Garber and Simon, 2017). Below are several other additional reasons for carrying out psychological testing/ assessment;

-It is a measure of a person`s personal attributes- Psychological testing helps the learner to understand an individual`s behavior. Understanding a person`s behavior is quite important since it helps researchers and learners realize/ judge a person based on his/ her way of behaving.

Psychological Testing
Psychological Testing

It is a way of measuring performance- Individual performance is quite important. People would often need to be assessed how they have performed within a specified period of time. Therefore, in this case, psychological testing would help us realize a persons performance in his or her field of specialty. This is one of the key reasons why psychological testing was devised and should be embraced.

  • Saves time. It is a time-saving means of evaluating an individual`s performance in a certain field.
  • It is, of course, the most economical means of achieving a person`s performance.
  • Similarly, the process of psychological testing is basically scientific. Therefore, testing is expected to have the best results in any experiment.

There are basic psychological testing terms that have been explored in this course. As part of the course objectives, it is important to define, describe and also identify these basic testing terms (Garber and Simon, 2017). Such terms include theory, assessment, attitude, personality, measurement, validity, reliability, operational definitions, statistics, average, central tendency, correlation, bias, battery, criterion, decile, standardization, derived score, Level of significance, sample, prediction, randomness, measurement scale, stratification, norms, distracters and factor.

As part of this research paper, definitions of some of these terminologies will be analyzed. For instance; -Theory- theory refers to an idea that is used to account for or even justify a psychological situation.

  • Sample- it refers to a set of collected data that is used for psychological testing and analysis.
  • Measurement scale- it is the basis that is basically used for the psychological tests.

This research paper also addresses uses and various varieties of the personality tests. The main aim of this is to determine which tool is the best for predicting and also measuring the behavior of an individual/ a person (Rappaport et al, 2017). Establishing the validity of the personality tests is again quite important in psychology. Personality tests are an example of psychological tests that have been handled in this course. It is usually used to measure and also evaluate the behavior of a person in school and several other social places. This test basically identifies differences in personality between persons who are being subjected to the similar test.

Personal tests are basically the best psychological tests to use according to a number of psychological researchers. Again in this research paper, the question, “which is a better tool to predict the behavior of an individual, is it the personality test or the projective test?” This is one research problems that have been identified in the course. The research problem can, therefore, be reviewed (Garfinkle and Richardson, 2018). This can be reviewed in terms of whether the personality tests, observation and also the inventories are more reliable and also predictive in determining the behavior of a person.

The hypothesis for this research paper is based on using personality inventories and the projective tests and determining which is better in assessing of a person`s behavior. Using research design and the descriptive correlational methodology is the best approach for the researcher. Descriptive psychological tests are therefore tools that are used to measure and predict the behavior of humanity (Garfinkle and Richardson, 2018). However, both personality tests and the projective tests are used to assess the personalities of individuals in different environments, for instance, school and community. Psychological tests can be applied in various instances. For example, organizations worldwide are busy striving to be successful in the best ways possible.

Aptitude testing is another form of testing that has been described in the course. It is the second widely used form of psychological test after the personality test. It can interchangeably be used with the term ability. The concept of ability in the aptitude test can be described as a general character of an individual that can ideally facilitate the learning of the various skills.

From aptitude definition, it is then easier to state that, psychological tests are basically standardized measures of a small sample of an individual`s behavior (Garfinkle and Richardson, 2018). For instance, a chemist can infer the characteristics of a large compound by only testing a few cubic centimeters of a liquid. Similarly, quality engineers only test a small sample of the finished products and not all of them. The same concept is applied by psychologists in coping with test results. They only base their work on a small sample to come up with results for a larger population.

In aptitude testing, there is a need to establish the difference between aptitudes and the abilities. Ability tests are basically given with an option of giving a dire prediction about a person`s future success in his or field of work, mostly occupational activity or even group of activities. However, it’s possible to use the term aptitude in place of the term, ability (Garfinkle and Richardson, 2018). There are several ways of describing aptitude tests. These include being described in the mode in which they are being presented and also be grouped based on their content.

Conclusion

Psychological testing and assessment are conducted for a number of reasons. For instance;

  • Detection of specific behavior- psychological tests are basically used to determine the abilities of a person.
  • Individual differences- Psychological tests are again used to determine the individual differences. This ideally shows the difference in a person`s ability. The person`s performance is also determined through psychological testing (Rappaport et al, 2017).
  • To diagnose by the psychological test- These tests are also used in clinical psychology. This can be used to diagnose mental disorders among individuals.
  • Legal classification- Psychological tests basically help researchers to identify people into different categories. These categories can be normal and abnormal, criminal and innocent, intellectual and mentally disabled and lastly, the able and the disabled.
  • Promoting Self -understanding- this is another function that psychological testing does. It, therefore, provides standardized knowledge about the person`s behavior, aptitudes and also capabilities.
  • Program evaluation- Psychological testing can be used for such measures as program evaluation (Kaplan and Saccuzzo, 2017).
  • Scientific research- psychological researchers use psychological testing for the purpose of research. It, therefore, provides knowledge about the person`s mental level (Chukhraiev, 2017).
  • Military selection- Psychological testing is used during military selection.

References

Chukhraiev, N., Zukow, W., Chukhraieva, E., & Unichenko, A. (2017). Integrative approach to reduction of excess weight. Journal of Physical Education and Sport17(2), 563.

Garber, B. D., & Simon, R. A. (2017). Individual Adult Psychometric Testing and Child Custody Evaluations: If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Wear It. J. Am. Acad. Matrimonial Law.30, 325.

Garfinkle, M. S., & Richardson, S. L. (2018). Psychological Testing for Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytic Trends in Theory and Practice: The Second Century of the Talking Cure, 269.

Kaplan, R. M., & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2017). Psychological testing: Principles, applications, and issues. Nelson Education.

Rappaport, S. R., Gould, J., & Dale, M. D. (2017). Psychological Testing Can Be of Significant Value in Child Custody Evaluations: Don’t Buy the Anti-Testing, Anti-Individual, Pro-Family Systems Woozle. J. Am. Acad. Matrimonial Law.30, 405.

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Did you find any useful knowledge relating to psychological testing in this post? What are the key facts that grabbed your attention? Let us know in the comments. Thank you.

Approaches for Research Dissertations

Qualitative or Quantitative?

Approaches for all research, whether qualitative or quantitative, requires interpretation and contextualization by the researcher. Narrative statements or a series of figures will not give the answer to the research question or statement (hypothesis) by themselves.

Therefore it is important to choose a research approach (or approaches) that will give the correct ‘type’ of data to answer your research question.

A number of approaches are available when gathering data, but these don’t have to be used in isolation. For instance a focus group can elicit viewpoints which may need exploring further will a larger research cohort using a closed question survey. For this reason, it is important to plan your approach thoroughly before you start, to ensure your research question can be answered and to let your respondees know what is expected of them.

Don’t forget that whichever research method is chosen, it needs to have a robust ethics form that has been approved before contacting participants and starting to gather data.

Approaches that can be used:

Focus groups

This is where a group of people discuss a particular problem, facilitated by the researcher. The group interaction and the sharing of ideas not only means that rich and meaningful data can be pulled out from the focus group but also during the course of the focus groups, ideas can be co-constructed between participants which can be used to further the depth of research.

Structured interviews

When using structured interviews, the questions are written beforehand and are strictly adhered to regardless of the answer.

Semi-structured interviews

Whilst pre written questions are also used in semi structured interviews, this approach allows for the researcher to spontaneously build on answers given, allowing the base question to be answered but also elaborating on any areas which may impact on the research answer.

Survey

Surveys are an excellent way to reach a large number of people. This approach works if there is a clear idea of the questions that will elicit research to support the hypothesis. A mix of qualitative (open text fields) or quantitative (set questions and answers) can be used.

Case study

This approach is valuable when more in depth research is required and allows the researcher to investigate the issues in the place or time that they occur. The researcher will observe the participant and often will have follow up meetings to clarify or build on the information gained.

Narrative enquiry

This method works on the ideology that it is less important what is said, then how it is said. The story a participant will tell may not be entirely factual but it will be their perception of what happened which gives greater in sight. This approach is linked to discourse analysis methodology.

Appreciative enquiry (AI)

AI shifts the traditional focus of looking for the negative impacts of an issue and instead approaches the issue from a positive perspective.

Ethnographic

Ethnographical methodology requires the researcher to embed themselves in the participatory groups own setting, for a sustained time in order to observe, talk and learn from participants.

There are a number of branches from the ethnographic methodology:

Auto ethnographic

More than just an autobiographical account, an auto-ethnographic researcher should reflect on events and use these to uncover meanings and feelings that a purely narrative account may miss.

Visual ethnographic

Using video, photos and artefacts as the main source of research data rather than supplementing it.

Netography

Researchers using this methodology are involved and participants or ‘lurkers’ in virtual groups and communities. Ethical issues need to be carefully considered with this approach.

Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)

Instead of studying isolated issues, SSM is a holistic way of looking at and solving problems. These are often presented in mind map formats, making this a good research methodology for visual learners.

Questions to ask before choosing a research approach:

  1. Will we learn more about this topic using quantitative or qualitative approaches?
  2. Which approach will produce more useful knowledge?
  3. Which will do more good?

References

Taken from:  Cousin. Glynis, (2009) Researching Learning in Higher Education. Routledge. UK.

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Standardization versus Adaptation International Marketing

Standardization versus Adaptation Debate in International Marketing

In the international business market field, standardization versus adaptation debate is not new, where thus far researchers have not agreed on which strategy is effective to be adopted in international market. Taking a business into international market and successfully selling its products and services can attract a range of challenges. For many years, many multinational corporations make costly mistakes when trying to sell to the global consumers or audience. Such mistakes are mainly described by a lack of awareness of the role and contributions of adaptation and standardization in international markets. This paper seeks to analyse the issues of adaptation (customization) and standardization (global strategy) within international marketing strategies and proposes specific approaches that can help companies compete efficiently and effectively within these global setting.

Available Evidence

Since the start of the 1980s, globalization issue has developed significantly and critical to modern businesses. Globalization has helped in reducing the differences between countries. Both international of businesses and an increasing level of globalization have had a significant impact on how businesses plan and view their global marketing strategy (Wang & Yang, 2011). As a result, various research studies have been done on whether companies need to standardize or adapt certain behaviours in international market. As these multinational businesses start to market their products and services in foreign markets, one important strategic decision is whether to change the marketing strategies and mix to match the unique aspects of each local market or whether to adopt a standardized marketing mix (people, promotion, place, price, product, process management, and physical evidence) and a single marketing strategy in all international markets (Vrontis & Thrassou, 2007)

One consideration shows that markets are becoming more integrated, increasingly more global and similar and consider that the main element to business survival is its capability to standardize. In contrast, the other consideration identifies the challenges in adopting a standardized strategy, and thus, supports market adaptation or customization. Nevertheless, evidence proposes that following adaptation or standardization strategies depends on the positioning and dimensions present in respective international market.

Standardization versus Adaptation

Based on some studies, followers of standardization consider that there is an integration of cultures with the same customer demand and environmental demands across the world. They also state that trade barriers are being reduced and advancements in technology, where multinational companies reveal global integration in their strategies. Under standardization, providing a single strategy for the international market, along with standardizing the marketing mix components, can enable constancy with customers and also reduce costs. Brei, et al (2011) state that businesses managed effectively have shifted away from customizing their products to serving internationally standardized items that are low priced, reliable, functional, and advanced. Brei, et al (2011) further state that businesses can attain long-term success through focusing on what customers need instead of being afraid of the particulars of what customers think they might need.

In contrast, followers of international adaptation strategy focus on the significance of customization. The key base of the adaptation strategy is that when a business enters an international market, it needs to reflect on all environmental aspects, constraints, and factors, such as societies, cultures, different laws, taste, education, occupations, race, climate, and language (Akgün, et al., 2014). Nonetheless, studies have reported significant source of constraints that may be challenging to measure, for example, customs, manners, attitudes, values, religion, aesthetics, education, and cultural variations originated in history, along with variations in legal systems, economics, wants, and needs. Vrontis and Thrassou (2007) stated that multinational corporations need to realize how they should alter their whole marketing strategy and include how they order, distribute, and sell to match the new international or local market demands. It is also very vital to adjust the marketing strategy and mix to fit local preferences and tastes, customer non-equivalent requirements, and special market needs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardization

Global uniformity and standardization have various benefits. First, customers can anticipate similar quality level of any particular brand in all outlets across the globe. Moreover, Hise and Choi (2013) posit that standardization facilitates positive consumer perceptions towards certain product. If companies that have a strong reputation and brand identity decide to follow the standardized approach, they will certainly gain success. In a global setting, positive word-of-mouth can imply an improvement in sales. Another benefit embraces cost reduction that provides the economies of scale (Hise & Choi, 2013). Selling huge amounts of non-adapted, same product and purchasing certain constituents in bulk may help in reducing the cost-per-unit.

Other benefits linked to economies of scale consist of reduced investment costs, marketing operational costs, and enhanced research and development. Additionally, standardization is a rational strategy in an era in which trade barriers are diminishing. Adopting a standardized approach assists multinational businesses to direct their emphasis on a uniformed marketing mix particularly concentrating on one single product or service, enabling adequate space for quality improvement. By focusing on one single uniformed product, employees will be trained to improve the product quality, which enables manufacturers to make equipment and technological investment that can protect the quality of the standardized product being served.

Nevertheless, standardization poses a range of shortcomings. Aforementioned, different international markets mean different consumer’s preferences. As a result, selling or offering one unified item poses lack of uniqueness. This enables competition to acquire bigger market share through adjusting their products to fit the need of a certain segment or market. Given that different markets have varied tastes and needs, by adopting the standardized strategy, businesses can become more at risk. One company example is Walmart’s failure when it entered international markets (Kim, 2008). Walmart encountered various challenges when it entered foreign markets such as Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Germany as it realized that its recipe for success in the US (a huge set of merchandise, inventory control, and low prices) did not actually activate the same level of success in foreign markets with shoppers with varied habits and own discount chains. The key problem for the retail giant was that the company tried to inflict its values globally. Particularly, Walmart’s incident is Germany, where the company lost large sum of dollar as of 1998, has become an example or reference point for how not to expand internationally.

Another disadvantage is that it relies mainly on economies of scale. In nature, companies that are global often engage in manufacturing in various countries. This may also pose a great problem because some countries adopt trade barriers such as the EU and the US (Dimitrova & Rosenbloom, 2010). For such a case, adaptation is predetermined. However, even though the standardization strategy is more used, its adoption is not absolute. Standardization approach raises the performance of a firm. Nevertheless, this is only true for businesses where competition occurs in a global range, such as perfumes, luxury goods, fashion, electronics, consumer durables, among others. In such cases, similar product may be sold across all markets. In contrast, there are other sectors where this same action does not apply and thus, this needs to be considered.

standardization versus adaptation of international advertising strategies
standardization versus adaptation of international advertising strategies

Moreover, consumer non-durables, such as food products, are highly responsive to variations in national habits and tastes, making the companies to consider some adjustments to fit different markets. For instance, Unilever realized a greater opportunity among Indian low-income consumers who intended to purchase personal care products and high-end detergents, but might not afford them. To respond to this, Unilever produced a low-cost packaging product and various other alternatives that enabled it to provide radically cheaper alternatives. According to Theodosiou and Leonidou (2003), such a flexibility not only increase a new market for the business, but enabled also it to produce brand loyalty that customers benefit from it when their income increased and might afford higher-end products from similar manufacturer.

There are some questions which most businesses in the international market expansion need to answer: what products do we aim to standardize? And do we standardize distribution channels, pricing, marketing communications, product support and customer service? The answer to such questions need to either all adapted or all standardized.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Adaptation

Customization is also commonly considered an adaptation. Moreover, product adaptation is more applicable in the case in which: (1) there is an intense competition, compelling differentiation of products; (2) there is a considerable variations in consumer wants and needs; and (3) to meet essential host country requirements, including legal, technical, and packaging issues. These are also essential reasons for product adaptation and modification; literacy, customer lifestyle, and consumer’s income level.

The key arguments towards implementing adaptation approach is that it entails the individual approach as it enables the company to be aware of the preferences, wants, and needs of each market or consumer. Followers of adaptation strategy credibly support the idea that there is a considerable variation in consumer’s lifestyle, political system, regulations and rules, economic condition, culture, and consumer belief and values across the globe. Such elements need to be reflected on for the success of the company (Hussain & Khan, 2013). The application of adaptation marketing strategy supports the companies to gain an increased competitive advantage. In addition, the ultimate aim of a business needs not to be the cost reduction using standardization, but the actual long-term corporate profitability through improved sales attributable to the enhanced use of the differing consumer needs globally.

Poturak & Duman( 2014) assert that the followers of standardization does not possess the conventional knowledge of contemporary marketing. Irrespective of various arguments of improved consumer homogeneity, various studies have reported that consumers are becoming progressively more complex or diverse and do not essentially intend to substitute quality over price. Moreover, product modification or adaptation approach will results in a boost in sales volume of the company in international market; by highly meeting the wants and needs of the consumers, but reflecting on the competing companies; and by also retention of the current customers through frequently updating the product.

There are also certain drawbacks of product adaptation or modification of different marketing strategy, including duplication of the practices across the company and additional cost needed for the promotional practices. In this strategy, the company will need extra resources for research and development. The increased costs are attributable to defender fights and developments, which are also more risky. Moreover, companies may lack knowledge and experience regarding the technical elements of the different products and understanding on how to market a product (Hossain & Yazdanifard, 2015). This strategy also promotes decentralization of management.

Most Appropriate Strategy

These two strategies emerge to be coherent, logical, and rational, outlining the benefits that a company intending to expand internationally can acquire through implementing either strategy. When an international company puts forth all its efforts of the extreme side of either strategy, it normally becomes incoherent and unfeasible. The point is that marketing for international companies is not based on either of the two opposite strategies, since both strategies are probably to coexist, even in similar multinational company, brand, and product line (Rocha & Silva, 2011).

Vrontis and Thrassou (2007) stated that standardizing some components of the marketing mix, while adapting other components to differing market conditions is required. Adaptation and standardization should not be considered an ‘all or nothing’ proposal; rather it should be considered a matter of degree. For instance, diversity across various countries and markets does not enable whole standardization. Nevertheless, Schilke, et al. (2009) opines that higher cost associated to adaptation can limit the application of adaptation strategy. Wei and Yazdanifard (2014) focus on three factors to analyse adaptation and standardization practices: transferability of competitive advantage; homogeneity of various consumers’ reponse towards the marketing mix; and similarities in the level of economic freedom.

Schilke, et al. (2009) point out that even in markets or countries with the same cultures, such as across the EU, there are variations in customer wants and needs. In addition, they state that standardization will be effective when the customer response homogeneity and the level of sameness in economic freedom are higher, with easily transferable competitive advantages. Components of both strategies need to be integrated so that it can enable international companies to achieve desirable success. Acquiring the benefits of both strategies needs various firms to not only standardize different components of marketing strategies and marketing mix, but to implement also adaptation when needed with the aim of meeting the evident market needs (Batraga & Pūķe, 2015).

McDonald’s Case Study

An example of a major corporation that has been able to demonstrate the benefits of both adaptation and standardization strategy is McDonald’s. With around 35,000 restaurants in around 120 countries globally, McDonald’s competently manages its franchise system, providing an outstandingly reliable branding and customer experience, while also enabling for locally appropriate service and menu differentiations in segments or markets globally. Moreover, all advertisements are provided in twelve different languages, characterizing the tailored products organized to each region or market (Vignali, 2001). McDonald’s launched the McArabia (a flatbread sandwich product) in 2003, to its outlets in the Middle East. In addition, in India, it launched the McVeggie, while introducing EBI-Fillet-O shrimp in Japanese markets.

The company also selects convenient locations for its franchises, which include local neighbourhoods, airports, and malls. Such marketing strategies have proven to be efficient, showed by the company’s 8% increase in profit margins within the last five years. Nonetheless, McDonald’s has placed various efforts to improve them using the latest marketing practices in regards to the 7Ps. The company has started to modernize its eateries, shifting from a plastic-appearance to a more wood and brick design with the aim of sustaining a modern image (Yeu, et al., 2012). McDonald’s has also chosen to “re-image” its business operations in their advertisements through integrating a hip-hop theme with young generation icons such as Lee Hom and Justin Timberlake in China as a way of attracting young people. Moreover, this company has started to serve healthier foods (e.g. oatmeal), provided consumers are highly health conscious.

Conclusion on Standardization versus Adaptation

The regular topic in international marketing is whether multinational firms need to plan for adapted or standardized marketing strategy is immensely debated in scholarly setting and is a major issue to all multinational firms and marketing individuals. Followers of standardized strategy state that the international market has become homogenized and thus, these firms can market their commodities similarly across the globe. Using similar approaches will lead to higher margins and reduced costs. On the contrast, followers of the adaptation strategy focus on the evident differences between the markets of various countries and markets, particularly those for consumer goods, and favour adopting global differentiated marketing initiatives

This paper listed some advantages and disadvantages of every strategy, suggesting that the solution to an effective market strategy lies between these two extreme strategies. Firms can promote a strong international marketing strategy with the relevant structure, attitude, and operating behaviours that attain an effective and efficient balance between standardization versus adaptation approaches. Companies intending to expand internationally need not to treat the world as one singular market. Rather, they should initiate market research and establish their customers, and their wants and needs.

References

Akgün, A. E., Keskin, H., & Ayar, H. 2014. Standardization versus Adaptation of International Marketing Mix Activities: A Case Study. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 150(15), pp.609–618.

Batraga, A., & Pūķe, I. 2015. Integrating Standardization versus Adaptation in International Marketing Strategies: Companies in Latvia. Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference, pp.27-36.

Brei, V., D’Avila, L., Camargo, L., & Engels, J. 2011. The Influence of Adaptation and Standardization of the Marketing Mix on Performance: a Meta-Analysis. BAR, Curitiba, 8(3), pp.266-287.

Dimitrova, B., & Rosenbloom, B. 2010. Standardization Versus Adaptation in Global Markets: Is Channel Strategy Different? Journal of Marketing Channels, 17(2), pp. 157-176.

Hise, R., & Choi, Y.-T. 2013. Are US companies employing standardization versus adaptation strategies in their international markets? Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies, 1-29.

Hossain, A., & Yazdanifard, R. 2015. Which One of Standardization or Customization Works the Best When It Comes to Online Marketing? American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 5, pp.45-52.

Hussain, A., & Khan, S. 2013. International Marketing Strategy: Standardization versus Adaptation. Management and Administrative Sciences Review, 2(4), pp.353-359.

Kim, R. 2008. Wal-Mart Korea: Challenges of Entering a Foreign Market. Journal of Asia-Pacific Business, 9(4), pp.344-357.

Poturak, M., & Duman, T. 2014. The Role of Marketing Standardization versus Adaptation Strategies on Managers’ Satisfaction with Export Performance: Proposal of a Conceptual Framework. European Journal of Economic Studies, 10(4), pp. 252-262.

Rocha, T. V., & Silva, S. C. 2011. The Standardization versus Adaptation Dilemma: The Case of an American Company in Brazil. Internext – Revista Eletrônica de Negócios Internacionais da ESPM, 6(1), pp.63-83.

Schilke, O., Reimann, M., & Thomas, J. 2009. When Does International Marketing Standardization Matter to Firm Performance? Journal of International Marketing, 17(4), pp. 24–46.

Theodosiou, M., & Leonidou, L. 2003. Standardization versus adaptation of international marketing strategy: an integrative assessment of the empirical research. International Business Review, 12, pp.141–171.

Vignali, C. 2001. McDonald’s: “think global, act local” – the marketing mix. British Food Journal, 103(2), pp.97 -111.

Vrontis, D., & Thrassou, A. 2007. Adaptation versus standardization in international marketing – the country-of-origin effect. Innovative Marketing, 2(3), pp.7-20.

Wang, X., & Yang, Z. 2011. Standardization or Adaptation in International Advertising Strategies: The Roles of Brand Personality and Country-Of-Origin Image. Asian Journal of Business Research, 1(2), pp.25-36.

Wei, S., & Yazdanifard, R. 2014. Comparison on the Impact of Standardization and Adaptation on International Marketing. Journal of Research in Marketing, 3(1), pp. 250-259.

Yeu, C., Leong, K., & Tong, L. 2012. A Comparative Study on International Marketing Mix in China and India: The Case of McDonald’s. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 65, pp.1054–1059.

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Currency Crisis Cause and Resolution

Currency Crisis

Currency crises are rapid and unpredictable decline in the value of the currency of a nation. The crises are often more severe if the country involved uses a fixed exchange rate than if the country has a flexible exchange rate since the monetary authority will be forced to abandon the fixed rate. Currency crises usually increase by selling pressure of a currency and can only be remedied through devaluation or establishing a new exchange rate at a sufficiently depreciated level. Several countries have experienced currency crises which are caused by different factors. One of the most severe currency crisis occurred in Mexico between 1994 and 1995. The crises led to huge massive economic crises that forced the Mexican government to seek assistance from the United States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (Carbaugh, 2016). The essay herein will, therefore, examine the sources of currency crises in Mexico and the specific resolution and also including some other countries that have experienced currency crisis such as Russia and Turkey.

Mexico Currency Crisis (1994-1995)

Before the 1994 Mexico currency crises, the central bank of Mexico maintained the value of peso within a depreciated band of four percent every year against the U.S. dollar. In 1994, the Central bank decided to issue debt that is linked to the US dollar as a way to reduce interest rates on debts. The debts kept rising until it exceeded the central bank’s falling foreign exchange reserves which led to the currency crises. Despite the government responding by devaluing the currency by 15 percent, the crises continued until 1995. The continued selling pressure on the currency forced the monetary authorities to withdraw support in foreign exchange markets as foreign reserves of the Bank of Mexico fell. Although the severity of the Mexican currency crisis in 1994 was unprecedented, Mexico’s history on exchange rate policy has been characterized by the duration of both fixed exchange rate and flexible exchange rates (Ötker et al., 1995). The devaluation registered by Mexico is the largest depreciation of the currency of a country within one year.

When the currency crises occurred, there was little information about the possibility of its occurrence. The crises were somehow similar to the debt crisis that occurred between 1982 and 1983. Several assessments have been conducted to establish the main cause of the situation, and most of them reveal that it was contributed by the exchange rate policy of Mexican monetary authorities. The other cause identified through the assessment is the excessive use of short maturity tesobonos for deficit financing. Tesobonos is a peso-dominated bond which is issued by the government of Mexico and the coupons associated with it are indexed to the United States dollar. The Mexican government issued the tesobonos as a way to convince the international investors to buy Mexican debt that is exempted from risks associated with currency exchange. The investors are therefore immune to the effects of changes in the dollar value of the peso between the period of purchase and redemption. The risk associated with the change of currency is therefore carried by the Mexican government and not the investors. For instance, if the value of peso depreciated during the period of purchase and redemption, the Mexican government and the taxpayers would be liable for the losses.

According to the international economic statistics that were available before the crises, the Mexican government had the chance to evade the crises if the monetary authorities had information about the actual state of Mexican reserves. At the beginning of 1994, the Mexican reserves were at around $25 billion, but towards the ends of the year, the reserves had reduced to about $5 billion (Tavlas, 1997). The existing reserves were insufficient to meet the existing financial obligations. Furthermore, a default was considered to be a perilous move for the stability of the international financial markets. The deficit, therefore, led to the currency crisis. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed to provide the Mexican authorities with information about the decline in the reserves. Following the crisis, the IMF has resolved to closely monitor the financial reserves of developing countries to avert the occurrence of a currency crisis. The IMF has also resorted to providing early warning indicators to avoid the occurrence of a currency crisis in any nation.

Currency Crisis
Currency Crisis

Mexico has a great deal of the forms of direct capital investment in 1994, but it was not sufficient. The government was receiving massive amounts of money through stock-brokers who were motivated by the quick returns which were about 20 percent annually. The investment bankers and the stock-brokers were ready to exit Mexico as soon as the crisis begun thereby increasing the magnitude of economic damage. The troubles of Mexico extended from insufficient reserves, inability to service the debts, and incapability to generate profits on the equity capital. The crises also contributed to other social and political problems such as the Chiaspas rebellion at the beginning of 1994 (Tavlas, 1997). The political issues made the foreign investors take their money out of Mexico thereby broadening the implications of the crisis. The implications of the crises forced the Mexican government to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the United States government.

According to Gil-Diaz (1998), the currency crisis in Mexico was contributed by the execution of the privation of the public enterprises and the deregulation of the Mexican banking sector. He concluded that the confiscation of the banking sector followed by subsequent privatization in 1991-1992 is the cause of the currency crisis. The Mexican monetary authorities made the deregulation of the banking sector without due consideration about the implications that it would have on the federal reserves. The decision later resulted in an increase in unpaid debts to the banks. The currency was then triggered by the Mexican government in 1994 because of the economic decisions. The crisis was determined by the fragility of the banking system and not the macroeconomic factors as indicators by other researchers. Three years before the crisis, the Mexican peso was overvalued which also resulted in economic pressure. The monetary policy that was passed by the Mexican authorities was inappropriate because the Federal Reserve was raising the interest rate while the Bank of Mexico maintained the existing rates. It, therefore, made the investors leave increasing pressure on the reserves.

The Mexican currency crisis had a regional effect through a contagion in various markets such as Brazil, Argentina, Asia, and Thailand; the effect was referred to as the “Tequila effect.” The crisis affected both the stock market and the foreign exchange market. Only the countries that had high economic fundamentals were exempted from the effects of the crisis. The Mexican government responded to the adverse situation by requesting for loans from different countries and international bodies among them being the United States, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank for International Settlements. In the end, Mexican government managed to secure a loan totaling to $50billion that was used to meet the financial obligations. However, the move by the government to ask for loans received criticism from some of the European authorities that considered the move to be a moral hazard.

The Mexican government continued to resolve the crisis by implementing a severe adjustment program. Some of the strategies in the program included reducing the public spending, increasing the value added tax from 10 percent to 15 percent, and raising the prices of all the public goods and services. The program worsened the situation in Mexico as the Gross Domestic Product dropped by 6.5 percent and inflation increased by 50 percent. Furthermore, the banking system collapsed thereby forcing the government to use public funds in the rescue. The government also changed the exchange rate from fixed to flexible. Later, a law was passed that would only allow the government budget to be approved if the deficit is zero to prevent further lending. The initiative had positive implications in the GDP because of the increased exports of products to the United States. Through the Banking Fund for the Protection of Savings, the government was able to bail out the banking system that had collapsed.  Years later, the government decided to sell the Mexican banks to the international financial groups. Presently, there is only one Mexican bank as foreign investors own the rest.

One of the international institutions that played a role in rescuing Mexico was the International Monetary Fund. The IMF is responsible for providing loans to nations that are in financial deficit. The loans are usually issued following an agreement between the nation and IMF. The IMF responded to the crisis by providing a loan to the Mexican government through the U.S Treasury as a way to protect the foreign banks and other existing financial institutions. The various government also played a vital role in rescuing the currency crisis among them being the United States and Canada. The U.S. has had a long outstanding relationship with Mexico, and it is also the largest trading partner. Although the Federal Service Bank contributed to the crisis by increasing the interest rate, the United States assisted the Mexican government with loans to end the crisis. On the other hand, Canadian government through the North American Framework Agreement (NAFA) contributed funds beyond what had been collected at the time of occurrence of the crisis.

Russia Currency Crisis (1998)

Russia was severely hit by a currency crisis in 1998 that left both the economic and financial system in crisis. According to Gerry & Li (2002), the financial crisis begun in August 1997 when the Russian government defaulted on its domestic financial and economic systems. The duration was characterized by an increase in inflation, high levels of unemployment, and shanking of the economy. Although the crisis lasted for a short period, Russian who was living in the urban areas were severely hit. Globalization and uncontrolled speculation in the financial markets is one of the leading contributors to a currency crisis in the developing countries. The rise in the amount of capital that is flowing in the international financial systems as a result of globalization has had negative impacts on the economies of different countries. The crisis is caused by failures of certain sectors of the economy in the countries involved which later spreads to other countries through contagion and spill-over effects. For instance, the Asian currency crisis spread through contagion and spillovers to other countries such as Thailand in 1997 and later to Russia in 1998. Therefore, Asia is one of the causes of the Russian crisis although research shows that there is a little linkage between the crises that hit the two countries.

The Russian crisis can also be attributed to both political and economic factors. The Russian government triggered the crisis by selling the GKOs and OFZs which denominated debt instruments and coupon bonds after the fall of USSR. The Russian government then started experiencing problems that had negative implications on both the financial and the economic systems. The Russian government responded by converting the Ruble dominated instruments into US dollar-dominated Eurobonds to alleviate the risks involved. The Russian government continued borrowing from external sources that later raised concerns of its default exposure as foreign investors decided to cut their connection with the Russian debt, equity, and commodity market because of lack of confidence. The withdrawal of investors from Russia economy reduced the government capability to finance the debts thereby causing a currency crisis. According to the reports provided by the Economic Intelligence Unit (1998) in 1998, 30 percent of the Russian expenditure was used to service the short-term debts that the government had secured from other governments and international institutions. Therefore, high levels of debts are one of the causes of a currency crisis in Russia.

Russian Currency crisis was also caused nu the fall in the value of the Rule, weak banking system, and the reduction in the level of the foreign reserves. The Russian government tried to remedy the situation through the Central Bank by pegging the Russian Ruble to the US dollar with a narrow band. Several other studies have been conducted to establish the causes of the Russian financial crisis which had serious consequences to the economic and financial systems of other countries such as Turkey, Ukraine, and Moldova. The devaluation of the Russian Ruble also had negative implications on the Russia banks regarding assets and liabilities. There was also a reduction in the foreign exchange contracts because of the increase in the value of liabilities. Furthermore, the Russian government debts such as bonds and treasury bills that were used assets were reduced to worthless assets because of the defaults. As a result, most banks were closed which made a majority of the Russians to lose their savings. Lastly, the crisis caused political fallouts and frequent demonstrations of workers who were demanding a pay rise (Margolin, 2000).

The Russian currency crisis was resolved after intervention by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has the mandate of monitoring the economic and development policies enacted by various nations. The other responsibilities of the international body are to lend money to countries that are experiencing financial challenges and provision of technical assistance regarding research and training to countries that are in need. The IMF intervened in the Russian crisis by lending money that would help the government to escape the financial collapse. Despite the IMF lending money to the Russian government, the situation was already out of control since the money could only be used to take care of the short-term debts but not offer a permanent solution to the difficult situation.

For a country to survive a financial crisis, it requires a plan for the aid to be used in a manner that will help escape the situation. It is an excellent idea for the international body to issue financial aid, but the Russian government was not prepared to use the funds to evade the crisis. The government had lost control of the situation, and therefore it required more than financial aid to help the situations. The Russian government responded by coming up with a plan that would ensure the crisis does not happen again. The funds issued by the IMF were used in rescuing the banking system which plays a vital role in maintaining economic growth in a nation.

Conclusion

A currency crisis is one of the challenges that has been experienced by several countries especially the developing countries. Among the countries that have been affected by currency crisis include Mexico between 1994 and 1995, Russia in 1998, and Thailand in 1997. The crisis has severe implications on the economic and financial systems of an economy. The causes of the crisis vary from one nation to another, for instance, the crisis in Mexico was caused by reducing the level of Federal Reserve while excessive borrowing caused the Russian crisis. Once the countries are caught in such difficult situations, it the responsibility of the international bodies and other government to assist in escaping the situation. International Monetary Fund played a vital role in helping the above-discussed countries escape the harsh implication of currency crisis. The United States and Canada through the North American Framework Agreement (NAFA) assisted Mexico financial aid in helping rescue the situation.

References

Carbaugh, R. (2016). International Economics. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Economist Intelligence Unit (1998). Russia: Country Report. London. pp. 42.

Gery, C. J. & Li, C. A. 2002. Vulnerability to welfare change during economic shocks: evidence from the 1998 Russian Crisis. Working Paper. University of Essex, Department of Economics, Discussion Papers.

Gil-Díaz, F. (1998). The Origin of Mexico’s 1994 Financial Crisis. Cato Journal, 17 (3), pp. 303-313.

Margolin, R. (2000). The Russian Financial Crisis: from craze to crash. The Stern Journal, New York University.

Ötker, I., Pazarbaşioğlu, C., International Monetary Fund, & International Monetary Fund. (1995). Speculative attacks and currency crisis: The Mexican experience. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, Treasurer’s Dept. and Monetary and Exchange Affairs Dept.

Tavlas, G. S. (1997). The Collapse of Exchange Rate Regimes: Causes, Consequences and Policy Responses. Boston, MA: Springer US.

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