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.
Adolfo Barajas, Thorsten Beck, Era Dabla-Norris, and Reza Yousefi
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper introduces the concept of the financial possibility frontier as a constrained optimum level of financial development to gauge the relative performance of financial systems across the globe. This frontier takes into account structural country characteristics, institutional, and macroeconomic factors that impact financial system deepening. We operationalize this framework using a benchmarking exercise, which relates the difference between the actual level of financial development and the level predicted by structural characteristics, to an array of policy variables. We also show that an overshooting of the financial system significantly beyond levels predicted by its structural fundamentals is associated with credit booms and busts.