Friðrik Már Baldursson, Richard Portes, 06 January 2014

In 2008, Icelandic banks were too big to fail and too big to save. The government’s rescue attempts had devastating systemic consequences in Iceland since – as it turned out – they were too big for the state to rescue. This column discusses research that shows how this was a classic case of banks gambling for resurrection.

Jens Hagendorff, Francesco Vallascas, 16 December 2013

Recent research shows that capital requirements are only loosely related to a market measure of bank portfolio risk. Changes introduced under Basel II meant that banks with the riskiest portfolios were particularly likely to hold insufficient capital. Banks that relied on government support during the crisis appeared to be well-capitalised beforehand, suggesting they engaged in capital arbitrage. Until the regulatory concept of risk better reflects actual risk, the proposed increases in risk-weighted capital requirements under Basel III will have little effect.

Minouche Shafik, 14 December 2013

Crises expose weaknesses in rules and institutions, and provide impetus for reform. Macroeconomic policy coordination was strong early in the financial crisis, but momentum slowed. There has been significant progress on financial regulation, yet major challenges remain. International safety nets have been reinforced – including a trebling of IMF resources. This column argues that ensuring the future effectiveness and legitimacy of the IMF, its member countries will need to agree on greater voice and representation for emerging market countries in the interest of a better managed global economy.

Georgios Georgiadis, Johannes Gräb, 08 December 2013

Existing data show that the historically well-documented relationship between growth, competitiveness, and trade protectionism does not hold in the context of the recent financial crisis. This column presents new evidence that this relationship, in fact, holds. G20 governments continue to pursue trade-restrictive policies in a recession, or when their competitiveness deteriorates. This holds for a wide array of trade policies, including ‘murky’ protectionism.

Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, Luis Garicano, Tano Santos, 24 March 2013

This paper studies the mechanisms through which the adoption of the euro delayed, rather than advanced, economic reforms in the Eurozone periphery and led to the deterioration of important institutions in these countries. The authors show that the abandonment of the reform process and the institutional deterioration, in turn, not only reduced their growth prospects but also fed back into financial conditions, prolonging the credit boom and delaying the response to the bubble when the speculative nature of the cycle was already evident.

Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi, Alessandro Rebucci, 11 April 2013

Many economists think that the US Federal Reserve’s loose monetary stance in the 2000s fuelled the US housing bubble. Is the Fed thus responsible for the Global Crisis? This column discusses evidence suggesting that monetary policy was, in fact, not to blame. Rather, it was the absence of an effective regulatory function that created the mess we’re in now. It is not fair to blame the Great Recession only on the Fed’s monetary-policy stance nor is the Fed now breeding the next US financial crisis.

Fernando Broner, Tatiana Didier, Aitor Erce, Sergio Schmukler, 28 March 2013

How much do we really know about net capital flows? Presenting new research, this column lays out a number of new stylised facts on the dynamics of gross capital flows and their implications for policymaking. Interestingly, if we’re to learn from relatively crisis-resilient middle-income countries, policymakers may well need to monitor and perhaps regulate the separate behaviour of domestic and foreign investors to weather future crises.

Marc Auboin, Martina Engemann, 03 December 2012

What effect does trade finance have on international trade? This column uses new data to stress the importance of trade finance for international trade both in crisis and in non-crisis periods. The major policy lesson is that there must be high levels of market incentives for supplying trade credit, particularly during a period of ‘deleveraging’ of the financial system. That said, trade credit statistics could be vastly improved if we wish to continue comparing global trade finance transactions against global trade.

Marco Buti, Alessandro Turrini, 12 November 2012

Why aren’t Eurozone imbalances adjusting? This column argues that there is heartening evidence that they are. Labour markets are beginning to be reformed across Europe, thereby increasing countries’ competitiveness. However, the road ahead will surely long and hard; for external adjustment to really work, it is crucial that financial markets start to take a lead supportive role.

Michael McMahon, Udara Peiris, Herakles Polemarchakis, 30 October 2012

‘Sterilisation’ - where purchases of assets by a central bank are offset by withdrawals - may help the ECB to control inflation. This column discusses how the ECB’s current approach may be fraught with danger, however. In a world where sovereign default risk is perceived to be likely, the ECB’s only real hope is that its approach makes a Eurozone default impossible.

Alan KIrman, 29 October 2012

The economic crisis has thrown the inadequacies of macroeconomics into stark relief. This column argues that the narrow conception of the macroeconomy as a system in equilibrium is problematic. Economists should abandon entrenched theories and understand the macroeconomy as self-organising. It offers detailed suggestions on what alternative ideas economists can teach their future students that better reflect empirical evidence.

M. Ayhan Kose, Marco Terrones, 18 October 2012

Bouts of elevated uncertainty have been one of the defining features of the sluggish recovery from the global financial crisis. This column explores the role of uncertainty in driving macroeconomic outcomes using data from a large group of advanced countries over the past 40 years. It concludes that uncertainty appears to hinder growth.

Hans Degryse, Santiago Carbó-Valverde, Francisco Rodríguez Fernández, 23 September 2012

This paper studies whether the involvedness of a firm’s main bank into different types of securitisation activity influences credit supply before and during the 2007-8 financial crisis. The authors find that, in general, a relationship with a bank that is more involved in securitisation activities relaxes credit constraints in normal periods. In contrast, while a relationship with a firm’s main bank that issues covered bonds reduces credit rationing during crisis periods, the issuance of asset-backed securities by a firm’s main bank aggravates these firms' credit rationing in crisis periods.

Simon Johnson, Peter Boone, 21 September 2012

Industrialised countries today face serious risks – for their financial sectors, for their public finances, and for their growth prospects. This column explains how, through our financial systems, we have created enormous, complex financial structures that can inflict tragic consequences with failure and yet are inherently difficult to regulate and control. It explains how this has happened and why there are more and worse crises to come.

Patrick Minford, Vo Phuong Mai Le, David Meenagh, 15 July 2012

This paper adds the Bernanke-Gertler-Gilchrist model to a modified version of the Smets-Wouters model of the US in order to explore the causes of the banking crisis. The authors find that banking crises occur on average once every 40 years and around half are accompanied by financial crisis. Financial shocks on their own, even when extreme, do not cause crises, provided the government acts swiftly to counteract such a shock.

Michael Bordo, Christopher Meissner, 24 March 2012

Did inequality in the US lead to the global financial crisis? This column presents evidence from 14 countries between 1920 and 2008 and argues that while inequality can be blamed for many things, the global crisis is not one of them.

Andrew Haldane, Vasileios Madouros, 22 November 2011

While few would argue that the financial crisis has not brought the real economy down with it, there is considerably less clarity about what the positive contribution of the financial sector is during normal times. This lead commentary in the current Vox debate on the issue focuses on the value-added of risk and government subsidies in national accounting, and makes an important distinction between risk-taking and risk management.

Dennis Snower, 29 July 2011

The first Global Economic Symposium (GES) took place in the early autumn of 2008. Dennis Snower, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and GES Director, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about its continuing efforts to bring together people from many professions, nations and cultures to develop solutions to a wide range of global challenges, including financial crises, climate change, poverty and such ‘tragedy of the commons’ phenomena as deforestation and overfishing. The interview was recorded in July 2011.

Stefano Micossi, 10 December 2010

Nightmares of the Eurozone are back to haunt policymakers. This column senses something surreal. The leaders scramble to prevent disaster at the last minute, only to be seen the next minute reverting back to the behaviour that brought them to the edge of despair in the first place. It argues that the Eurozone may be more in need of a psychiatrist than a financial guru.

John Quiggin, 03 December 2010

John Quiggin of the University of Queensland talks to Viv Davies about his recently published book, which describes some of the economic ideas that he believes played a role in creating the global financial crisis. He refers to the Great Moderation, the efficient markets hypothesis, DSGE, ‘trickle-down’ economics and privatisation as ‘zombie’ ideas, which should have been killed off by the financial crisis, yet for some reason still live on in the minds of many economists and policy-makers. The interview was recorded in London in November 2010. [Also read the transcript]



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