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Three episodes of financial fragility in Norway since the 1890s

Author

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  • Karsten R. Gerdrup

    (Central Bank of Norway)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Karsten R. Gerdrup, 2003. "Three episodes of financial fragility in Norway since the 1890s," BIS Working Papers 142, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:142
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Burkhard Drees & Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, 1998. "The Nordic Banking Crisis; Pitfalls in Financial Liberalization: Pitfalls in Financial Liberalization," IMF Occasional Papers 161, International Monetary Fund.
    2. 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.
    3. Charles Bean, 2003. "Asset Prices, Financial Imbalances and Monetary Policy: Are Inflation Targets Enough?," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Anthony Richards & Tim Robinson (ed.), Asset Prices and Monetary Policy Reserve Bank of Australia.
    4. Davis, E. Philip, 1995. "Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198233312.
    5. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Isabel Schnabel, 2014. "Bubbles and Central Banks: Historical Perspectives," Working Papers 1411, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 31 Oct 2014.
    2. von Peter, Goetz, 2009. "Asset prices and banking distress: A macroeconomic approach," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, pages 298-319.
    3. Ola Honningdal Grytten, 2012. "Financial crises and monetary expansion," Working Paper 2011/21, Norges Bank.
    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.
    5. repec:eco:journ1:2017-05-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sigbjørn Atle Berg & Øyvind Eitrheim, 2009. "Bank regulation and bank crisis," Working Paper 2009/18, Norges Bank.
    7. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2013. "Banking crises: An equal opportunity menace," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4557-4573.
    8. 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.

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