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Three episodes of financial fragility in Norway since the 1890s

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  • Karsten R. Gerdrup

    (Central Bank of Norway)

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    Abstract

    This paper provides for the first time a comparative study of three major banking crises in Norway (1899-1905, 1920-28 and 1988-92), and presents financial and macroeconomic data spanning more than 130 years. Financial sector development appears to be closely linked to booms and busts in economic activity during these years. The boom periods that preceded each of the three crises all have some common features: they were characterised by significant bank expansion, considerable asset price inflation and increased indebtedness. The non-financial sector increased its debt only slightly more than its income during the first two boom periods, but subsequent deflation increased its debt burden. A puzzle in the two first boom periods was that the commercial bank equity-to-total assets ratio increased markedly. Nonetheless, the commercial banks were severely affected in the each subsequent bust. Possible explanations are provided, but this puzzle calls for more research. Altogether, a strong causal link between financial fragility and banking crises is suggested. The crises occurred in different institutional environments and monetary policy regimes, and the role of these is explored and policy lessons are drawn. In particular, the close link between monetary and financial stability is highlighted.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 142.

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    Length: 51 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:142

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    Keywords: financial fragility in Norway; banking crises in Norway;

    References

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    1. Grossman Richard S., 1993. "The Macroeconomic Consequences of Bank Failures under the National Banking System," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 294-320, July.
    2. Hoggarth, Glenn & Reis, Ricardo & Saporta, Victoria, 2002. "Costs of banking system instability: Some empirical evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 825-855, May.
    3. Burkhard Drees & Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, 1995. "The Nordic Banking Crises," IMF Working Papers 95/61, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Davis, E. Philip, 1995. "Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198233312.
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    Cited by:
    1. von Peter, Goetz, 2009. "Asset prices and banking distress: A macroeconomic approach," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 298-319, September.
    2. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Karacaovali, Baybars & Laeven, Luc, 2005. "Deposit insurance around the world : a comprehensive database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3628, The World Bank.
    3. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2008. "Banking Crises: An Equal Opportunity Menace," NBER Working Papers 14587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Borio, Claudio & Filardo, Andrew J., 2004. "Looking back at the international deflation record," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 287-311, December.

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