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.
What lessons can be drawn from the unprecedented growth and spectacular collapse of financial pyramid schemes in Albania? This paper discusses the origins of the pyramid schemes and the way the authorities handled them. It also analyzes the economic effects of the pyramid schemes, concluding that despite the descent into anarchy triggered by the schemes’ collapse their direct effects on the economy are difficult to specify and appear to have been limited. Finally, the paper argues that prevention of pyramid schemes is better than cure, and that governments and international financial institutions should be vigilant in clamping down on frauds.