Mr. Ralph De Haas, Ms. Yevgeniya Korniyenko, Mr. Alexander Pivovarsky, and Ms. Elena Loukoianova
We use data on 1,294 banks in Central and Eastern Europe to analyze how bank ownership and creditor coordination in the form of the Vienna Initiative affected credit growth during the 2008–09 crisis. As part of the Vienna Initiative western European banks signed country-specific commitment letters in which they pledged to maintain exposures and to support their subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe. We show that both domestic and foreign banks sharply curtailed credit during the crisis, but that foreign banks that participated in the Vienna Initiative were relatively stable lenders. We find no evidence of negative spillovers from countries where banks signed commitment letters to countries where they did not.
The recent experience of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has stimulated the debate over currency union and reinforced the incentive for the emergence of currency blocs in other regions of the world. This paper builds a dynamic stochastic model-based on network externalities operating through trade channels-to explain the emergence of currency blocs, and specifically, why some countries join a currency union earlier than others. The paper develops and formalizes the intuition that currency bloc formation is path dependent, and that countries join currency blocs sooner the more they trade with the bloc member countries, with each additional member serving in a dynamic way to attract more members into the bloc. Evidence from the current pattern of EMU expansion supports the model, which is later used to elaborate on the pattern of further expansion of the union.