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.
This paper empirically examines the probability and intensity of financial crises during the 1990s with a view to informing crisis prevention and mitigation policies. The econometric analysis uses a decision-theoretic approach, rather than the more standard general-to-specific approach, to address the high degree of model uncertainty. The results affirm the importance of balance sheets in the probability and intensity of financial crises, especially corporate balance sheet stresses and foreign exchange liquidity shortfalls. Model uncertainty is a bigger problem for estimating crisis intensity compared to crisis probability.