We use panel probit models with unobserved heterogeneity, state dependence and serially correlated errors in order to analyse the determinants and the dynamics of current account reversals for a panel of developing and emerging countries. The likelihood-based inference of these models requires high-dimensional integration for which we use efficient importance sampling. Our results suggest that current account balance, terms of trades, foreign reserves and concessional debt are important determinants of current account reversal. Furthermore, we find strong evidence for serial dependence in the occurrence of reversals. While the likelihood criterion suggest that state dependence and serially correlated errors are essentially observationally equivalent, measures of predictive performance provide support for the hypothesis that the serial dependence is mainly due to serially correlated country-specific shocks related to local political or macroeconomic events. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd and the Department of Economics, University of Oxford, 2010.