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Reza Y. Siregar and Keen Meng Choy

The reversal of capital flows from the banking sector, rather than portfolio equity investment, has long been considered a main reason for the severity of the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. This study analyzes the factors behind the boom and bust of bank lending, focusing on loans from private banks in seven Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries to nine East Asian economies during the 1990–2004 period. The findings suggest that political instability and weaknesses in legal, judicial, and bureaucratic systems help explain the continued stagnation in lending after the financial crisis. Thus, institutional reforms are critical for East Asia to successfully compete for international bank financing.

Camilla Andersen

The cool, logical thinking of economics would at first glance seem as far removed from the hot emotions of hatred and racism as it can get. But think again. According to Professor Edward Glaeser of Harvard University, politicians often decide to spread hate-creating stories about a group they wish to exclude from state spending in order to discredit opponents whose policies would benefit that group. According to this logic, egalitarians may foment hatred against rich minorities, whereas redistribution opponents may seek to build hatred against poor minorities. Glaeser, who presented his thoughts at a recent IMF seminar, even thinks that economics can help explain hatred of blacks in the U.S. South, the genocide of Jews, and the recent surge of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. “An economic model of hatred can use the economic focus on incentives and equilibrium to create predictions about where we should expect to see outbreaks of hatred,” he writes.

Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Mr. Herman O. Stekler
We document information rigidity in forecasts for real GDP growth in 46 countries over the past two decades. We investigate: (i) if rigidities are lower around turning points in the economy, such as in times of recessions and crises; (ii) if rigidities differ across countries, particularly between advanced countries and emerging markets; and (iii) how quickly forecasters incorporate news about growth in other countries into their growth forecasts, with a focus on how advanced countries‘ growth forecasts incorporate news about emerging market growth and vice versa.
Ms. Mwanza Nkusu
This paper investigates the prospects for Ireland to grow its economy against the backdrop of high indebtedness. The paper uses vector autoregressive analysis to explore the interlinkages among competitiveness, exports, economic growth, and fiscal performance. The emerging conclusion is that Ireland, which has regained cost competitiveness following the crisis-driven fall in domestic prices, is poised to return to its path of strong exports and economic growth and lower imbalances provided that it maintains competitiveness, though a pickup in external demand is critical. Three main findings underpin this conclusion. First, external demand is an important driver of exports and also the single most important determinant of Ireland’s GDP and government revenue. Second, declines in price competitiveness, featured by real effective exchange rate (REER) appreciations, restrain exports and economic growth. Third, exports boost output, which in turn enhances fiscal performance.
Mr. Germán López-Espinosa, Mr. Antonio Rubia, Ms. Laura Valderrama, and Mr. Antonio Moreno
To date, an operational measure of systemic risk capturing non-linear tail comovement between system-wide and individual bank returns has not yet been developed. This paper proposes an extension of the so-called CoVaR measure that captures the asymmetric response of the banking system to positive and negative shocks to the market-valued balance sheets of individual banks. For the median of our sample of U.S. banks, the relative impact on the system of a fall in individual market value is sevenfold that of an increase. Moreover, the downward bias in systemic risk from ignoring this asymmetric pattern increases with bank size. The conditional tail comovement between the banking system and a top decile bank which is losing market value is 5.4 larger than the unconditional tail comovement versus only 2.2 for banks in the bottom decile. The asymmetric model also produces much better estimates and fitting, and thus improves the capacity to monitor systemic risk. Our results suggest that ignoring asymmetries in tail interdependence may lead to a severe underestimation of systemic risk in a downward market.
Mr. R. G Gelos and Alejandro M. Werner
This paper examines the impact of financial liberalization on fixed investment in Mexico, using establishment-level data from the manufacturing sector. It analyzes changes in cash-flow sensitivities and uses an innovative approach to explore the role of real estate as collateral and deal with a potential censoring problem. The results suggest that financial constraints were eased for small firms but not for large ones. However, banks’ reliance on collateral in their lending operations increased the importance of real estate. The results provide microeconomic evidence consistent with the role attributed to “financial accelerator” mechanisms during lending booms and during recessions that stem from financial crises.
Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Mehdi Hosseinkouchack, and Alexis Meyer-Cirkel
Sub-Saharan African countries are exposed to spillovers from global financial variables, but the impact on economic activity is more significant in more financially developed economies. Generalized impulse responses from a GVAR exercise demonstrate how the CBOE volatility index (VIX) and credit conditions around the globe impact a subset of sub-Saharan African economies and regions. The estimated relationships suggest that the effect of global uncertainty is more pervasive in exports, with the impact on economic and lending activities being mixed. The channels of transmission include the effects of global financial variables on commodity prices and on trading-partner’s macroeconomic and financial variables. The analysis suggests that shocks to credit conditions in the euro area and the U.S. have not significantly affected local lending conditions or economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa during 1991-2011, except perhaps in South Africa.
Miss Stephanie Denis and Mr. Prakash Kannan
This paper quantifies the economic impact of uncertainty shocks in the UK using data that span the recent Great Recession. We find that uncertainty shocks have a significant impact on economic activity in the UK, depressing industrial production and GDP. The peak impact is felt fairly quickly at around 6-12 months after the shock, and becomes statistically negligible after 18 months. Interestingly, the impact of uncertainty shocks on industrial production in the UK is strikingly similar to that of the US both in terms of the shape and magnitude of the response. However, unemployment in the UK is less affected by uncertainty shocks. Finally, we find that uncertainty shocks can account for about a quarter of the decline in industrial production during the Great Recession.
Mr. John C Bluedorn and Mr. Daniel Leigh
We revisit the conventional view that output fluctuates around a stable trend by analyzing professional long-term forecasts for 38 advanced and emerging market economies. If transitory deviations around a trend dominate output fluctuations, then forecasters should not change their long-term output level forecasts following an unexpected change in current period output. By contrast, an analysis of Consensus Economics forecasts since 1989 suggest that output forecasts are super-persistent—an unexpected 1 percent upward revision in current period output typically translates into a revision of ten year-ahead forecasted output by about 2 percent in both advanced and emerging markets. Drawing upon evidence from the behavior of forecast errors, the persistence of actual output is typically weaker than forecasters expect, but still consistent with output shocks normally having large and permanent level effects.