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Hazardous tango: sovereign-bank interdependence and financial stability in the euro area

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Author Info

  • Merler, S.
  • Pisani-Ferry, J.

Abstract

The strong interdependence between banking and sovereign crisis has emerged as a salient feature of euro area crisis. This interdependence, for sure, is not a specific feature of the euro area. But as pointed out by several authors the vicious cycle seems to be extremely strong in the euro area. The reason why euro area banks and sovereigns seem to be indissolubly tied together is twofold. On one hand, in the absence of a supranational banking resolution framework, member states keep individual responsibility for the rescue of their national banking system. Given the size of the banking systems across the euro area, this implies that the fiscal consequences of rescuing banks are potentially very large and explains how stress in the banking system can spill over to sovereigns. On the other hand, domestic banks hold on their balance sheets a considerable share of the debt issued by their domestic government. Any doubt about sovereign solvency immediately therefore affects domestic banks. This two-way bank-sovereign interdependence constitutes one of the specific features of the euro area that renders it especially fragile. In spite of this demonstrated weakness there has been surprisingly little policy action to remedy this state of affairs. Proposals for giving the European Union or the euro area responsibility for rescuing banks, or at least backstopping national authorities, have been consistently rejected.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Banque de France in its journal Financial Stability Review.

Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): 16 (April)
Pages: 201-210

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Handle: RePEc:bfr:fisrev:2011:16:19

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Cited by:
  1. Zsolt Darvas & Guntram B. Wolff, 2013. "Should non-euro area countries join the single supervisory mechanism?," Working Papers 1305, Department of Mathematical Economics and Economic Analysis, Corvinus University of Budapest.
  2. George T. Palaiodimos, 2013. "Putting the EMU integration into a new perspective: the case of capital market holdings," Working Papers 168, Bank of Greece.
  3. Serkan Arslanalp & Takahiro Tsuda, 2012. "Tracking Global Demand for Advanced Economy Sovereign Debt," IMF Working Papers 12/284, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Das, Udaibir S. & Oliva, Maria A. & Tsuda, Takahiro, 2012. "Sovereign Risk: A Macro-Financial Perspective," ADBI Working Papers 383, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  5. Fabian Lindner, 2013. "Banken treiben Eurokrise," IMK Report 82-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  6. Udaibir S. Das & Maria A. Oliva & Takahiro Tsuda, 2012. "Sovereign Risk: A Macro-Financial Perspective," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 8(3), pages 367-392, August.
  7. Alter, Adrian & Beyer, Andreas, 2013. "The dynamics of spillover effects during the European sovereign debt crisis," Working Paper Series 1558, European Central Bank.
  8. Gustav A. Horn & Fabian Lindner & Silke Tober & Andrew Watt, 2012. "Where now for the euro area crisis? Interim assessment and a model for a stable euro area," IMK Report 75e-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  9. Alter, Adrian & Beyer, Andreas, 2014. "The dynamics of spillover effects during the European sovereign debt turmoil," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 134-153.
  10. Gustav A. Horn & Fabian Lindner & Silke Tober & Andrew Watt, 2012. "Quo vadis Krise? Zwischenbilanz und Konzept für einen stabilen Euroraum," IMK Report 75-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.

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