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The Italian financial cycle: 1861-2011

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  • Riccardo De Bonis

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Andrea Silvestrini

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the main features of the Italian financial cycle, extracted by means of a structural trend-cycle decomposition of the credit-to-GDP ratio, using annual observations from 1861 to 2011. In order to draw conclusions based on solid historical data, we provide a thorough reconstruction of the key balance-sheet time series of Italian banks, considering all the main assets and liabilities over the last 150 years. We come to three main conclusions. First, while there was a close correlation between loans and deposits (relative to GDP) until the mid-1970s, over the last 30 years this link has become more tenuous, and the volume of loans has increased in relation to deposits. The banks have covered this �funding gap� mainly by issuing new debt securities. Second, the Italian financial cycle has a much longer duration than traditional business cycles. Third, taking into account the deviation of the credit-to-GDP ratio from its trend, an acceleration of credit preceded a banking crisis in 8 out of the 12 episodes listed by Reinhart and Rogoff (2009). A Logit regression confirms a positive association between the probability of a banking crisis and a previous acceleration of the credit-to-GDP gap. However, there were also periods - such as the early 1970s - in which the growth of the credit-to-GDP ratio was not followed by a banking crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Riccardo De Bonis & Andrea Silvestrini, 2013. "The Italian financial cycle: 1861-2011," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 936, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_936_13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Piergiorgio Alessandri & Pierluigi Bologna & Roberta Fiori & Enrico Sette, 2015. "A note on the implementation of the countercyclical capital buffer in Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 278, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Guido Bulligan & Lorenzo Burlon & Davide Delle Monache & Andrea Silvestrini, 2017. "Real and financial cycles: estimates using unobserved component models for the Italian economy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 382, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Baffigi, Alberto & Bontempi, Maria Elena & Felice, Emanuele & Golinelli, Roberto, 2015. "The changing relationship between inflation and the economic cycle in Italy: 1861–2012," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 53-70.
    4. Kunovac, Davor & Mandler, Martin & Scharnagl, Michael, 2018. "Financial cycles in euro area economies: A cross-country perspective," Discussion Papers 04/2018, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. repec:eee:riibaf:v:42:y:2017:i:c:p:242-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rünstler, Gerhard & Vlekke, Marente, 2016. "Business, housing and credit cycles," Working Paper Series 1915, European Central Bank.
    7. Paolo Di Martino & Barbara Pistoresi & Alberto Rinaldi, 2016. "International financial flows, domestic banks, and the economic development of the periphery: Italy, 1861-1913," Department of Economics 0104, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    8. repec:pal:buseco:v:52:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s11369-017-0035-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Silvana Bartoletto & Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano & Paolo Piselli, 2018. "Banking Crises and Boom-Bust Dynamics: Evidence for Italy (1861-2016)," CESifo Working Paper Series 6972, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    banking system; credit-to-GDP ratio; financial cycle; unobserved components.;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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