Reza Moghadam, 30 April 2010

How have emerging markets been affected by the global crisis? This column presents evidence that countries that improved their policy fundamentals and reduced their vulnerabilities in the pre-crisis period generally came out ahead during the crisis. They experienced smaller growth collapses, had more “space” to take countercyclical policy measures, and are recovering faster.

Amir Sufi, Atif Mian, 29 April 2010

US Congressional committees are now grilling bankers on the complex instruments that provided subprime mortgages with a veil of security. This column presents new evidence that subprime mortgages had more serious consequences – they were a key factor in the US housing-price boom. When house prices faltered, subprime mortgage holders defaulted en masse, eventually leading to the global crisis.

Gara Afonso, Anna Kovner, Antoinette Schoar, 26 April 2010

Many commentators have argued that interbank lending froze following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. This column presents evidence from the fed funds market that, while rates spiked and loan terms became more sensitive to borrower risk, mean borrowing amounts remained stable on aggregate. It seems likely that the market did not expand to meet additional demand for funds.

José-Luis Peydró, Rajkamal Iyer, 25 April 2010

How important are financial linkages in transmitting shocks across the financial system? This column examines evidence from India and finds that if a bank has a high level of exposure to another failing bank, the probability that there will be a run on the bank increases by 34 percentage points. This effect is even stronger when the financial system is weak.

Nicolas Berman, Philippe Martin, 22 April 2010

Sub-Saharan Africa’s low level of financial development meant that African banks were not directly involved in the credit crunch. But this column warns against rejoicing. If the cost of such low development is that African exporters are very dependent on external trade finance, then the real cost of the global crisis on Africa may actually be higher.

Harald Hau, 17 April 2010

What good can come from the global crisis? This column argues that a major cause of the crisis was the lack of exchange trading for derivatives, which prevented market prices from signalling their inherent risk – more "missing market" than "market failure". The use of exchange trading for Greek sovereign debt, for example, marks a new and improved era in modern finance.

Peter Praet, Gregory Nguyen, 16 April 2010

The global crisis has called into question the efficacy of regulation in all affected markets – none more so than the EU. This column argues that the time when each European country can have a different resolution framework has come to an end and the EU’s resolution framework is still in need of major reform.

Simon Evenett, 15 April 2010

Thanks to deft diplomatic footwork, a US-China confrontation over the renminbi has been avoided. But the US Treasury has merely postponed the publication of its report on foreign currency manipulators, and the dispute may overshadow the G20 meetings in June and November. The 28 short essays in this eBook provide the best available economic, legal, political, and geopolitical thinking on the causes and likely consequences of the dispute.

Naotaka Sugawara, Victor Sulla, Ashley Taylor, Erwin Tiongson, 14 April 2010

The global crisis threatens the welfare of over 160 million people living around the poverty line in Europe and Central Asia. This column reports the findings of a recent World Bank analysis in the region. It estimates that the crisis will result in close to 35 million more people living around the poverty line.

Guillermo Calvo, Rudy Loo-Kung, 12 April 2010

The causes and consequences of the current global crisis have been compared with the Great Depression as well as crises in emerging markets. This column argues that the main difference between emerging market crises and the global crisis is that the former relied on an export recovery while the recent recovery has been fuelled by far less sustainable government expenditure.

Joshua Aizenman, Yothin Jinjarak, Donghyun Park, 03 April 2010

The global crisis has been associated with an unprecedented rise of swap agreements between central banks of larger economies and their counterparts in smaller economies. This column explores whether such swap lines can reduce the need for reserve accumulation. The evidence suggests that there is only a limited scope for swaps to substitute for foreign-exchange reserves.

Kristian Behrens, Gregory Corcos, Giordano Mion, 21 March 2010

World trade fell dramatically during 2009, as widely documented on this site and elsewhere. But there has been little econometric analysis of the different explanations put forward. This column uses data from Belgium to argue that a fall in demand was the main culprit. It is not a trade crisis – it is a trade collapse.

Gilles Saint-Paul, Giancarlo Corsetti, John Hassler, Luigi Guiso, Hans-Werner Sinn, Jan-Egbert Sturm, Xavier Vives, Michael Devereux, 21 March 2010

Public distrust of bankers and financial markets has risen dramatically with the financial crisis. This column argues that this loss of trust in the financial system played a critical role in the collapse of economic activity that followed. To undo the damage, financial regulation needs to focus on restoring that trust.

Claudio Raddatz, 15 March 2010

How did a seemingly small shock to the US financial markets manage to spread so far, so quickly? This column argues that the heavy reliance on short-term wholesale funding is to blame. It follows that the discussions of regulatory reform should focus on the risks associated with the liability structure of banks.

Daniel Leigh, 09 March 2010

Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s Chief Economist, recently broached the idea that central banks should target an inflation rate of 4% during the good times to leave more room for nominal rate cutting during bad times. This column supports this view, presenting new research showing that a higher inflation target could have halved the output loss of Japan during its “Lost Decade.”

Hylke Vandenbussche, Maurizio Zanardi, 08 March 2010

The global crisis has raised fears that governments would engage in a protectionist spiral. This column argues that, while countries have by and large kept their promises not to raise barriers to trade, antidumping has crept up. Far from being a “small price to pay”, the new tough users of antidumping laws such as Brazil, India, Mexico, Taiwan, and Turkey have 5.9% fewer annual imports as a result.

Marc Auboin, 07 March 2010

Trade finance is an essential facility for world trade. But this column argues that the safe, short-term, and self-liquidating character of trade finance has not been properly recognised under the Basel II framework and the proposed revised rules ("Basel III") seem to raise additional hurdles to trade finance. Both trade financiers and regulators should strive to avoid this.

Hans-Werner Sinn, 04 March 2010

A return of the Glass-Steagall Act has been suggested by US policymakers and commentators as a way to reduce risk in financial markets. This column argues that the legacy of separate commercial and investment banks actually made the crisis worse. Europe should not follow these proposals but should instead concentrate on strengthening the capital reserves of its banks.

Joshua Aizenman, Gurnain Kaur Pasricha, 03 March 2010

The crisis led to significant fiscal stimulus efforts by the US government to offset the downturn. But this column argues that, properly adjusted for the declining fiscal expenditure of the fifty states, the aggregate stimulus was close to zero in 2009. While a net decline was avoided, the stimulus did not raise aggregate expenditure above its predicted mean. This can explain the anaemic reaction of the US economy to the alleged “big federal fiscal stimulus”.

Eugene White, 02 March 2010

Where do the real causes of the global financial crisis lie? This column argues that that a dispassionate examination is needed in order to properly reform the banking system. As the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 illustrates, a mad dash for regulation where special interests can manipulate popular outrage is a recipe for cooking up the next financial disaster.

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