The Global Crisis and its high costs have revived interest in early warning indicators of economic risks. This column presents a new set of indicators to detect vulnerabilities and assess country-specific risks of suffering a crisis. The empirical evidence confirms the usefulness of the vulnerability indicators in warning of severe recessions and crises in OECD countries. But indicators are no silver bullet and should be complemented with other monitoring tools, including expert judgement.
Aida Caldera, Mikkel Hermansen, Oliver Röhn, 19 September 2015
Anil Ari, Giancarlo Corsetti, Andria Lysiotou, 10 August 2015
Cyprus has been striving to get back on its feet after a painful bailout in 2013. This column examines the lessons that could have been drawn from the Cypriot experience by Greece in its recent attempt to seal a bailout deal. Specifically, lengthy negotiations – while tending to mitigate the risk of contagion – offer little benefit for debtor countries, and capital controls, once implemented, cannot be easily undone. While they come too late for Greece, these lessons can be important for countries in need of financial assistance in the future.
Michal Kobielarz, Burak Uras, Sylvester Eijffinger, 12 March 2015
The Eurozone Crisis has been characterised by a sharp rise in sovereign interest rates in peripheral countries. The re-emergence of spreads between peripheral and core Eurozone countries at the start of the Greek crisis came after a decade of homogeneous interest rates in the monetary union. This column investigates the behaviour of spreads through the lens of a theory of implicit bailout guarantees.
Jean-Noël Barrot, Julien Sauvagnat, 26 February 2015
Little is known about how adverse shocks spread through production networks. This column presents quantitative evidence on inter-firm contagion using natural disasters as exogenous instruments. Adverse shocks to upstream suppliers lower sales growth and valuation of a downstream firm.
Philippe Karam, Ouarda Merrouche, Moez Souissi, Rima Turk, 02 February 2015
In the wake of the Crisis, policymakers have introduced liquidity regulation to promote the resilience of banks and lower the social cost of crisis management. This column shows that a funding liquidity shock, manifested as lower access to wholesale sources of funding following a credit rating downgrade, translates into a significant decline in both domestic and foreign lending. Liquidity self-insurance by banks mitigates the impact of a credit rating downgrade on lending.
Xavier Vives, 22 December 2014
Banking has recently proven much more fragile than expected. This column argues that the Basel III regulatory response overlooks the interactions between different kinds of prudential policies, and the link between prudential policy and competition policy. Capital and liquidity requirements are partially substitutable, so an increase in one requirement should generally be accompanied by a decrease in the other. Increased competitive pressure calls for tighter solvency requirements, whereas increased disclosure requirements or the introduction of public signals may require tighter liquidity requirements.
Martin Brown, Stefan Trautmann, Razvan Vlahu, 10 April 2014
Contagious bank runs are an important source of systemic risk. However, with observational data it is near-impossible to disentangle the contagion of bank runs from other potential causes of correlated deposit withdrawals across banks. This column discusses an experimental investigation of the mechanisms behind contagion. The authors find that panic-based deposit withdrawals can be strongly contagious across banks, but only if depositors know that the banks are economically related.
Paolo Manasse, Luca Zavalloni, 25 June 2012
If Greece defaults, what about Spain, what about the rest of the Eurozone, and what about the rest of Europe? “Contagion” has become a buzzword in international economics. This column asks whether markets are responding irrationally to the nightmare scenario or finally waking up to reality.
Hans Degryse, Muhammad Ather Elahi, María Fabiana Penas, 21 March 2012
As we are learning time and again, if a big bank goes down it takes a lot of other things down with it. This column looks at the effect of bank fragility and failure on other nearby countries and outlines what can be done to mitigate the cross-border contagion.
Bernard Delbecque, 17 October 2011
It is widely recognised that without a firewall around illiquid but solvent Eurozone countries, a loss of confidence in the markets could increase interest rates to levels high enough to make any country insolvent. The aim of this column is to propose a concrete plan to build such a firewall and halt the spread of contagion of the debt crisis to Italy and Spain.
Paolo Manasse, Giulio Trigilia, 06 July 2011
Most analysts agree that Greece is insolvent. This column argues that the issue is whether Greece’s troubles are contagious.
Olivier Jeanne, Patrick Bolton, 25 April 2011
The Eurozone crisis has thrown into relief the dangers of financial contagion. The authors of CEPR DP8358 analyze the causes and consequences of sovereign debt crises in zones with financial integration. They conclude that without fiscal integration, the supply of government debt in these areas reaches an inefficient equilibrium, with safer governments inefficiently issuing too little of their high-quality debt and riskier governments issuing too much.
Harald Hau, Choong Tze Chua, Sandy Lai, 05 February 2011
Fear of contagion across asset classes is again stalking European sovereign bond markets. This column discusses how shocks to bank stocks spread to non-financial stocks in 2007 and 2008. It finds that equity fire sales by mutual funds had a surprisingly large and devastating effect on the price of non-financial stocks. Could the sale of bonds trigger a similar reaction?
Barry Eichengreen, 03 December 2010
Irish interest spreads did not fall and contagion continues. Here one of the world’s leading international economists explains why. Short-sighted, wishful thinking by EU and German leadership designed a package that is not economically feasible in the long run (it would trigger a vicious debt deflation spiral) and it is not politically sustainable in the short run. The Eurozone had better have a Plan B for when the new Irish government rejects the package next year and imposes a haircut on Irish bank bondholders.
Prakash Kannan, Friederike (Fritzi) Koehler-Geib, 03 December 2009
The subprime crisis became the global crisis when the 2007 financial shock mutated into a full-blown global economic crisis in September 2008. This column attributes the rapid transmission of financial stress to the surprise of the crisis. Using historical data, it shows that crises with a pronounced surprise element tend to result in more widespread contagion.
Andrew K Rose, Mark M. Spiegel, 03 October 2009
The 2008 financial crisis is sometimes characterised as one where financial difficulties in the US spread to the rest of the world. But is there clear evidence of such international contagion? This column reports research indicating that neither financial nor trade linkages to the US help explain the cross-country incidence of the crisis. If anything, countries more exposed to the US seem to have fared better.
Stephan Danninger, Ravi Balakrishnan, Selim Elekdag, Irina Tytell, 27 April 2009
Financial stress reached unprecedented levels in 2008. This column presents a new IMF financial stress index and puts the current crisis into historical perspective. It also shows that bank-lending linkages appear to be the main driver of the transmission of stress. International financial integration brings both opportunities for growth and risks of contagion.
Helmut Reisen, 06 December 2008
The global credit crisis is testing the resilience and sustainability of emerging markets’ policies, this column warns. Even strong performers are not shielded against pure financial contagion, although they may well recover quickly once confidence is restored. In the future, development finance is likely to rely less on private debt.