Research Review | 17 Sep 2021 | Financial Shocks And Crises

Banking-Crisis Interventions, 1257 – 2019
Andrew Metrick and Paul Schmelzing (Yale)
September 7, 2021
We present a new database of banking-crisis interventions since the 13th century. The database includes 1886 interventions in 20 categories across 138 countries, covering interventions during all of the crises identified in the main banking-crisis chronologies, while also cataloguing a large number of interventions outside of those crises. The data show a gradual shift over the past centuries from the traditional interventions of a lender-of-last-resort, suspensions of convertibility, and bank holidays, towards a much more prominent role for capital injections and sweeping guarantees of bank liabilities. Furthermore, intervention frequencies and sizes suggest that the crisis problem in the financial sector has indeed reached an apex during the post-Bretton Woods era – but that such trends are part of a more deeply entrenched development that saw global intervention frequencies and sizes gradually rise since at least the late 17th century.

Can Financial Soundness Indicators Help Predict Financial Sector Distress?
Marcin Pietrzak (IMF)
July 23, 2021
This paper shows how the role of Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs) in financial surveillance can be usefully enhanced. Drawing from different statistical techniques, the paper illustrates that FSIs generate signals that can accurately detect, with 4 to 12 quarters lead, emerging financial distress—as measured by tight financial conditions.

Financial Crises: A Survey
Amir Sufi (U. of Chicago) and Alan M. Taylor (U. of California)
August 17, 2021
Financial crises have large deleterious effects on economic activity, and as such have been the focus of a large body of research. This study surveys the existing literature on financial crises, exploring how crises are measured, whether they are predictable, and why they are associated with economic contractions. Historical narrative techniques continue to form the backbone for measuring crises, but there have been exciting developments in using quantitative data as well. Crises are predictable with growth in credit and elevated asset prices playing an especially important role; recent research points convincingly to the importance of behavioral biases in explaining such predictability. The negative consequences of a crisis are due to both the crisis itself but also to the imbalances that precede a crisis. Crises do not occur randomly, and, as a result, an understanding of financial crises requires an investigation into the booms that precede them.

Macroeconomic and Financial Risks: A Tale of Mean and Volatility
Dario Caldara (Federal Reserve), et al.
August 2021
We study the joint conditional distribution of GDP growth and corporate credit spreads using a stochastic volatility VAR. Our estimates display significant cyclical co-movement in uncertainty (the volatility implied by the conditional distributions), and risk (the probability of tail events) between the two variables. We also find that the interaction between two shocks–a main business cycle shock as in Angeletos et al. (2020) and a main financial shock–is crucial to account for the variation in uncertainty and risk, especially around crises. Our results highlight the importance of using multivariate nonlinear models to understand the determinants of uncertainty and risk.

Pre-crisis conditions and financial crisis duration
Thanh Cong Nguyen (Phenikaa University)
July 3, 2021
This paper examines how pre-crisis conditions affect the duration of different types of financial crises using a data sample of 244 financial crises in 89 countries over the period 1985-2017. Results from our parametric survival analysis show that the duration of any type of financial crisis is longer for countries having higher levels of public debt prior to financial crises, whereas it is shorter for countries characterised by higher pre-crisis levels of (i) current account balance, (ii) international reserves, and (iii) institutional quality. Similarly, while pegged exchange rate regimes are associated with a longer duration of financial crises, majority governments help countries emerge faster from crises. Moreover, banking and currency crises tend to be more prolonged when preceded by higher credit growth. We also find a positive effect of pre-crisis fiscal balance on the probability of crisis ending, and it is noteworthy that this effect is strengthened under majority governments and a stronger institutional environment. Finally, our duration dependence analysis suggests that banking, currency, and twin and triple crises are more likely to end when they grow older.

Monetary policy, financial shocks and economic activity
Anastasios Evgenidis (U. of Newcastle) and A.G. Malliaris (Loyola U. Chicago)
March 1, 2021
This paper contributes to a deeper understanding of macroeconomic outcomes to financial market disturbances and the central bank’s role in financial stability, by using Bayesian VAR (BVAR) models. We document that a shock that increases credit to non-financial sector leads to a persistent decline in economic activity. In addition, we examine whether the behavior of financial variables is useful in signaling the 2008 recession. The answer is positive as our medium-scale BVAR generates early warning signals pointing to a sustained slowdown in growth. Finally, we suggest that the expansion phase of the business cycle can be subdivided into an early and a late expansion. Based on this distinction, we show that if the Fed had raised the policy rate when the economy moved from the early to late expansion, it could have mitigated the severity of the last recession.

Stress Testing the Financial Macrocosm
J. Doyne Farmer (University of Oxford), et al.
August 30, 2021
What kind of models do we need to guide us through the next crisis? If past crises are any indication, we need to explore new approaches. During the Great Financial Crisis, the models that existed at the time were of little value because they focused on firm-level interactions and did not capture the system-wide dynamics that fueled the crisis. In this paper, we sketch a vision for a new approach to understanding and mitigating financial and economic crises. We argue that next-generation stress test models must take a comprehensive a view of the financial macrocosm to enable the regulator to effectively regulate and supervise the macro-financial dynamics of the global economy.


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