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Jihad Dagher
Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

Despite ongoing economic recovery and improvements in global financial stability, structural weaknesses and vulnerabilities remain in some important financial systems. The April 2011 Global Financial Stability Report highlights how risks have changed over the past six months, traces the sources and channels of financial distress with an emphasis on sovereign risk, notes the pressures arising from capital inflows in emerging economies, and discusses policy proposals under consideration to mend the global financial system.