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Change and constancy in the financial system: implications for financial distress and policy

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  • Claudio E. V. Borio

Abstract

Over the past three decades, the financial system has been going through a historical phase of major structural change. This paper traces the implications of this financial revolution for the dynamics of financial distress and for policy. It argues that, despite this revolution, some fundamental characteristics of the financial system have not changed and that these hold the key to the dynamics of financial instability. These characteristics relate to imperfect information in financial contracts, to risk perceptions and incentives, and to powerful feedback mechanisms operating both within the financial system and between that system and the macro-economy. As a result, the primary cause of financial instability has always been, and will continue to be, overextension in risk-taking and balance-sheets. The challenge is to design a policy response that is firmly anchored to the more enduring features of financial instability while at the same time tailoring it to the evolving financial system. Using an analogy with road safety, policy has so far largely focused quite effectively on improving the state of the roads and on introducing buffers. More attention, however, could usefully be devoted to the design and implementation of speed limit.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 237.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:237

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Keywords: Financial revolution; financial instability; risk; liquidity; financial regulation; speed limits;

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  1. 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.
  2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2007. "Market Liquidity and Funding Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 12939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
  4. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Froot, Kenneth A, 1990. "Chartists, Fundamentalists, and Trading in the Foreign Exchange Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 181-85, May.
  5. G. William Schwert, 1990. "Why Does Stock Market Volatility Change Over Time?," NBER Working Papers 2798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bank for International Settlements, 2004. "Foreign direct investment in the financial sector of emerging market economies," CGFS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 22, January.
  7. Philip Lowe, 2002. "Credit risk measurement and procyclicality," BIS Working Papers 116, Bank for International Settlements.
  8. Tobias Adrian & Hyun Song Shin, 2008. "Liquidity and financial cycles," BIS Working Papers 256, Bank for International Settlements.
  9. Patrick McGuire & Eli Remolona & Kostas Tsatsaronis, 2005. "Time-varying exposures and leverage in hedge funds," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
  10. Jeffery D Amato & Jacob Gyntelberg, 2005. "CDS index tranches and the pricing of credit risk correlations," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
  11. Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. "Why Bank Credit Policies Fluctuate: A Theory and Some Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 399-441, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Subir Lall & Roberto Cardarelli & Selim Elekdag, 2009. "Financial Stress, Downturns, and Recoveries," IMF Working Papers 09/100, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Claudio Borio & Haibin Zhu, 2008. "Capital regulation, risk-taking and monetary policy: a missing link in the transmission mechanism?," BIS Working Papers 268, Bank for International Settlements.
  3. Király, Júlia & Nagy, Márton & Szabó E., Viktor, 2008. "Egy különleges eseménysorozat elemzése - a másodrendű jelzáloghitel-piaci válság és (hazai) következményei
    [Analysis of a special sequence of events - the crisis on the secondary mortga
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 573-621.
  4. Júlia Király & Márton Nagy & Viktor E. Szabó, 2008. "Contagion and the beginning of the crisis – pre-Lehman period," MNB Occasional Papers 2008/76, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
  5. Claudio Borio, 2008. "The financial turmoil of 2007-?: a preliminary assessment and some policy considerations," BIS Working Papers 251, Bank for International Settlements.
  6. Mario Tonveronachi & Elisabetta Montanaro, 2009. "Some preliminary proposals for re-regulating financial systems," Department of Economics University of Siena 553, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  7. Schich, Sebastian T., 2009. "Challenges Associated with the Expansion of Deposit Insurance Coverage during Fall 2008," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-16, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  8. Kent, Christopher John, 2011. "Two depressions, one banking collapse: Lessons from Australia," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 126-137, August.
  9. Cardarelli, Roberto & Elekdag, Selim & Lall, Subir, 2011. "Financial stress and economic contractions," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 78-97, June.
  10. Carlos Gustavo Cano, 2008. "Regulación y supervisión: La otra cara de la política monetaria," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 004587, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.

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