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
The “Gulf Falcons”—the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council—have high living standards as a result of large income flows from oil. The decline of oil prices between summer 2014 and fall 2015 underscores the urgency for the Gulf Falcons to diversify away from their current heavy reliance on oil exports. This book discusses attempts at diversification in the Middle East and North Africa and the complex choices policymakers face. It brings together the views of academics and policymakers to offer practical advice for future efforts to increase productivity growth.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper discusses key findings of the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes for the Republic of Korea. Responsibilities, objectives, and powers related to banking supervision are clearly defined in the Republic of Korea. The legal framework currently in place reasonably provides the necessary powers to authorize the establishment of banks, conduct ongoing supervision, address compliance with laws and regulations, as well as undertake corrective actions to address safety and soundness concerns. Authorization processes are generally thorough but there is room to require formal approval for certain activities.
Stock markets play a key role in corporate financing in Asia. However, despite their increasing importance in terms of size and cross-border investment activity, the region’s markets are reputed to be more “idiosyncratic” and less reliant on economic and corporate fundamentals in their pricing. Using a model that draws on international asset pricing and economic theory, as well as accounting literature, we find evidence of greater idiosyncratic influences in the pricing of Asia’s stock markets, compared to their G-7 counterparts, beyond the identified systematic factors and local fundamentals. We also show proof of a significant relationship between the strength of implementation of securities regulations and the “noise” in stock pricing, which suggests that improvements in the regulation of securities markets in Asia could enhance the role of stock markets as stable and reliable sources of financing into the future.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The October 2013 Global Financial Stability Report examines current risks facing the global financial system at it undergoes a series of transitions along the path toward greater financial stability. The United States may soon move to less accommodative monetary policies and higher long-term interest rates as its recovery gains ground. Emerging markets face a transition to more volatile external conditions and higher risk premiums. Japan is moving toward the new “Abenomics” policy regime, and the euro area is moving toward a more robust and safer financial sector. Finally, the global banking system is phasing in stronger regulatory standards. Chapter 1 examines the challenges and risks of each of these transitions. Chapter 2 looks at efforts by policymakers to revive weak credit growth, which has been seen by many as a primary reason behind the slow economic recovery. The chapter argues that policies are most effective if they target the constraints that underlie the weakness in credit. But it cautions policymakers to be aware of the fiscal costs and implications for financial stability of credit-supporting policies. Chapter 3 examines how banking funding structures matter for financial stability and the potential impact of various regulatory reforms. It concludes that careful implementation of reform efforts are important to ensure that financial stability benefits are realized.
This paper explores how much of the movements in the sovereign spreads of Asian economies over the course of the global financial crisis has reflected shifts in (i) global risk aversion; (ii) country-specific risks, directly from worsening fundamentals, and indirectly from spillovers originating in other sovereigns and the uncertainty surrounding exchange rates. Earlier in the crisis, the increase in market-implied contagion led to higher Asian sovereign bond yield spreads over swaps. But, after the crisis, Asia’s sovereign spreads normalized, despite the debt crisis in the euro area, reflecting a fall in both exchange rate and spillover risks.
The FY 11–13 medium-term budget (MTB) presented in this paper brings to a close the three-year restructuring effort that began with the FY 09–11 MTB. It secures savings of $100 million in real terms while providing sufficient financing for structural operations and the Fund’s response to the global financial crisis.
This budget has been crafted in a period of uncertainty regarding the final scope and duration of the financial crisis as well as the ongoing responsibilities that the Fund may retain even as the crisis unwinds. There is also uncertainty about new responsibilities that may result as a review of the Fund’s mandate is undertaken. Addressing these items will be part of the work agenda to be undertaken in the coming year.
Credit ratings have contributed to the current financial crisis. Proposals to regulate credit rating agencies focus on micro-prudential issues and aim at reducing conflicts of interest and increasing transparency and competition. In contrast, this paper argues that macro-prudential regulation is necessary to address the systemic risk inherent to ratings. The paper illustrates how financial markets have increasingly relied on ratings. It shows how downgrades have led to systemic market losses and increased illiquidity. The paper suggests the use of "ratings maps" and stress-tests to assess the systemic risk of ratings, and increased capital or liquidity buffers to manage such risk.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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