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Lessons from Finland's Depression of the 1990s: What Went Wrong in Financial Reform?

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  • Pekka Ahtiala
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    Abstract

    The role of economic policy in Finland's depression of the 1990s is analyzed with a simple model of an open economy, and the conditions for a successful financial reform derived: Let the system adjust after the removal of interest rate ceilings, and the domestic interest rate then be aligned with foreign rates before liberalizing international capital flows. In Finland, the financial system was liberalized simultaneously with international capital movements, with the domestic shadow interest rate initially considerably higher than the international market rates. A capital inflow the size of the monetary base followed, leading to the 'crazy years' of 1987-89. With a large current account deficit, the Bank of Finland tightened money sharply, causing a banking crisis practically wiping out the savings bank sector. The GDP declined by 13%. Several lesser policy measures aggravated the crisis.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Policy Reform.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 25-54

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:jpolrf:v:9:y:2006:i:1:p:25-54

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    Keywords: Financial reform; Finland's depression of the 1990s;

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    1. Ahtiala, Pekka, 2000. "Does the Maastricht Public Debt Criterion Call for Fiscal Expansion or Contraction?," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 15, pages 397-417.
    2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "The science of monetary policy: A new Keynesian perspective," Economics Working Papers 356, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1999.
    3. Bertola, Giuseppe & Drazen, Allan, 1993. "Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 11-26, March.
    4. Aghion, Philippe & Bacchetta, Philippe & Banerjee, Abhijit, 2001. "Currency crises and monetary policy in an economy with credit constraints," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1121-1150.
    5. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions be Expansionary? Tales of Two Small European Countries," NBER Working Papers 3372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1989. " Real Exchange Rates and Macroeconomics: A Selective Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(2), pages 401-32.
    7. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "The twin crises: the causes of banking and balance-of-payments problems," International Finance Discussion Papers 544, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Krugman, P., 1993. "What Do We Need to Know About the International Monetary System?," Princeton Studies in International Economics 190, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
    9. Karras, Georgios, 1994. "Government Spending and Private Consumption: Some International Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 9-22, February.
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