The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
A rapidly growing empirical literature is studying the causes and consequences of bank fragility in present-day economies. The paper reviews the two basic methodologies adopted in cross-country empirical studies-the signals approach and the multivariate probability model-and their application to studying the determinants of banking crises. The use of these models to provide early warnings for crises is also reviewed, as are studies of the economic effects of banking crises and of the policies to forestall them. The paper concludes by identifying directions for future research.