The choices we make in advance of the next financial crisis will have a major impact in determining the magnitude of the economic damage. Our vulnerability to crisis depends on the strength of the protections we build into the financial system through prudential regulation, as well as on the degrees of freedom we create for ourselves to respond to the unanticipated, and the knowledge and experience we bring in managing crises. Is the financial system safer today? With the reforms now in place and with the memory of the crisis still fresh, how confident should we feel about the resilience of the financial system and our ability to protect the US economy from a major financial crisis? Warburg Pincus President and former US Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner attempts to answer these questions in his October 2016 Per Jacobsson Lecture.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
As the Federal Reserve’s statutory objectives are defined as specific goals for the U.S. economy—to pursue maximum sustainable employment and price stability—and its policy decisions are targeted to achieve these dual objectives, there might seem to be little need for its policymakers to pay attention to developments outside the United States. But such an inference would be incorrect: the state of the U.S. economy is significantly affected by the state of the world economy, and of course, actions taken by the Federal Reserve influence economic conditions abroad, which in turn spill back on the evolution of the U.S. economy and therefore must be taken into account in the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy choices. This Per Jacobsson Lecture first reviews the effect of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies on the rest of the global economy, particularly emerging market economies. It then addresses prospective outcomes and possible risks associated with the normalization of the Federal Reserve’s policies. Finally, it discusses the Federal Reserve’s responsibilities in the world economy.
Since the grave disruption of the subprime market at the start of the global financial crisis triggered major turbulences in the functioning of money markets in all large advanced economies, central bankers have experienced extraordinarily demanding and difficult times, characterized by a succession of shocks unseen, in the advanced economies, since World War II. Given the structurally very different economies that central banks were dealing with, one could have expected that the shock of the crisis would have accentuated their differences and given rise to an even more diverse setof central bank policies, conceptual references, and measures in a selfish, inward-looking mode. Instead, however, a phenomenon of “practical and conceptual rapprochement” took place between central banks, amidst the economic and financial turmoil, with the closest central bank cooperation ever, as symbolically illustrated by the coordinated decrease of interest rates in October 2008. The crisis also started or accelerated a multidimensional process of convergence of key elements of monetary policy thinking and policymaking—“conceptual convergence”—that is far from being achieved, but calls for great attention from both academia and policymakers. This Per Jacobsson Lecture concentrates on this convergence process, reflecting as well on some theoretical and practical issues that are associated with unconventional monetary policy liquidity and quantitative measures and the forward guidance generalization, themselves part of the conceptual convergence phenomenon.
This paper discusses that as the IMF had been designed to assist countries with current account deficits, its role came under discussion. It subsequently regained some importance during the Latin American crises in the 1980s and the emerging market crises in the 1990s. It became apparent that an initially national crisis might very quickly assume a global character by spreading through closely linked financial systems. The global financial system and the global real economy are so intertwined that a financial crisis can severely affect the real economy in both emerging and advanced economies. Emerging economies acted as an important stabilizer at the height of the crisis, whereas major advanced economies are now facing a rather modest outlook for growth. The ultimate objective should be to tackle the roots of the crisis instead of just creating ever more instruments to fight the symptoms. Against this backdrop, any attempt to enhance the IMF's capacity for crisis management has to be thoroughly assessed in terms of costs and benefits.
This paper describes a financial system that should be adopted for the 21st century. The paper highlights that the financial crisis of 2008 has raised fundamental questions about how the financial industry is structured, managed, and regulated. The paper discusses that a well-functioning financial system plays an essential role in generating high levels of saving, promoting the efficient allocation of investment, and smoothing economic fluctuations stemming from nonfinancial causes. By facilitating informed risk taking, it is a key element in achieving optimal levels of productivity growth and rising living standards.
This paper discusses about the fact that longer the recognition problems persist, the greater the risk of continued “active inertia” and disappointing outcomes. The possibility of policy mistakes and business accidents will increase further, it will become harder for industrial country governments to convince their citizenry (as well as decision makers in emerging economies) to participate fully in the formulation and implementation of the required solutions, and multilateral institutions will not be able to fill the growing void at the core of the international system. The innovative financial instruments were potent in lowering barriers to entry to many markets, including important segments of the US housing market. As a result, too many households purchased homes that they could not afford, using exotic mortgages they did not fully understand, and too many small companies took on debt they could not sustain. Prior to the crisis, key industrial countries had embarked upon a multiyear, serial contamination of balance sheets.
This paper discusses how international financial institutions (IFIs) can deal with new global challenges. The paper highlights that surveillance is the primary responsibility of the IMF. To make it more effective, more attention should be paid to long-term, structural developments that, if left unaddressed, can over time create intractable rigidities and obstacles to growth. These include labor market rigidities, the consequences of demographic trends such as aging, and even the accumulation of international reserves. The interrelations between countries and the systemic impact of policies should also be a key focus of surveillance.
This paper presents the functional responsibilities of a central bank which is required to maintain systemic financial stability without having supervisory oversight of individual financial institutions. Although the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has responsibility for supervising individual financial institutions, the central bank retains responsibility for the smooth running of the domestic payments system and, by extension, oversight of the structure and soundness of the clearing and settlement systems of the main financial markets, money and bond markets, the foreign exchange market, and the equity market. A second, associated function, thrown into prominence by 9/11, is to undertake contingency planning against a major physical disruption of markets, whether by terrorism or natural causes. A third role, perhaps the best-known component in this portfolio of operational tasks, is to provide injections of liquidity, either to the financial system as a whole via open market operations or via lender-of-last-resort (LOLR) actions to individual institutions. A problem with such latter LOLR operations is that they might put taxpayers’ money at risk.