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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.
Mr. James P Walsh, Jiangyan Yu, and Mr. Chanho Park
Driving infrastructure development, notably mobilizing financial resources for infrastructure projects, has been challenging in many countries. This study includes two parts: an empirical analysis of macroeconomic risks associated with infrastructure booms, and a case study of four emerging economies about their practice of funding infrastructure development. The study shows that (i) there is no empirical evidence that rapid infrastructure growth would undermine contemporary macroeconomic performance, implying that room is created to accommodate infrastructure booms without compromising fiscal and external sustainability; (ii) banks may play an important role in financing infrastructure, but caution is needed to avoid directed lending and regulatory forbearance that the authorities may use to promote financing; (iii) capital market development is important to accommodate the usually high financing needs, and encouraging private investors to move into infrastructure would require regulatory and institutional improvements; and (iv) public support, including credit guarantees, may help bolster investors' confidence, but the authorities should carefully monitor and manage fiscal risks.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Annual meetings curtain raiser; APD Director Burton on IMF role in Asia; Briefs on Bolivia, Indonesia; WEO: rising Asia and nonfuel commodity prices; GFSR: global financial system; euro area recovery; U.S. capital inflows; facts about Singapore.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper examines the trade and pricing policies in world agriculture. In the United States, the government pays farmers not to grow cereals and in the European Community, farmers are paid to grow more. Many have raised nominal producer prices but followed macroeconomic and exchange rate policies that left real producer prices unchanged or lower than before. Many have set up complex systems of producer taxation, and then established equally complex and frequently ineffectual systems of subsidies for inputs to offset that taxation.