IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bis/biswps/346.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Global imbalances and the financial crisis: Link or no link?

Author

Listed:
  • Claudio Borio
  • Piti Disyatat

Abstract

Global current account imbalances have been at the forefront of policy debates over the past few years. Many observers have recently singled them out as a key factor contributing to the global financial crisis. Current account surpluses in several emerging market economies are said to have helped fuel the credit booms and risk-taking in the major advanced deficit countries at the core of the crisis, by putting significant downward pressure on world interest rates and/or by simply financing the booms in those countries (the "excess saving" view). We argue that this perspective on global imbalances bears reconsideration. We highlight two conceptual problems: (i) drawing inferences about a country's cross-border financing activity based on observations of net capital flows; and (ii) explaining market interest rates through the saving-investment framework. We trace the shortcomings of this perspective to a failure to consider the distinguishing characteristics of a monetary economy. We conjecture that the main contributing factor to the financial crisis was not "excess saving" but the "excess elasticity" of the international monetary and financial system: the monetary and financial regimes in place failed to restrain the build-up of unsustainable credit and asset price booms ("financial imbalances"). Credit creation, a defining feature of a monetary economy, plays a key role in this story.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat, 2011. "Global imbalances and the financial crisis: Link or no link?," BIS Working Papers 346, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:346
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work346.pdf
    File Function: Full PDF document
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/work346.htm
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters, in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Princeton University Press.
    2. Laidler,David, 1999. "Fabricating the Keynesian Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521641739, July.
    3. Peter Hördahl & Oreste Tristani, 2012. "Inflation Risk Premia In The Term Structure Of Interest Rates," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 634-657, May.
    4. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 358-393, March.
    5. Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2009. "Current account patterns and national real estate markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 75-89, September.
    6. Hume, Michael & Sentance, Andrew, 2009. "The global credit boom: Challenges for macroeconomics and policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1426-1461, December.
    7. Sa, Filipa & Towbin, Pascal & wieladek, tomasz, 2011. "Low interest rates and housing booms: the role of capital inflows, monetary policy and financial innovation," Bank of England working papers 411, Bank of England.
    8. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2007. "Financial Integration, Financial Deepness and Global Imbalance," 2007 Meeting Papers 746, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Naohiko Baba & Frank Packer & Teppei Nagano, 2008. "The spillover of money market turbulence to FX swap and cross-currency swap markets," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    10. Peter Hördahl & Oreste Tristani & David Vestin, 2008. "The Yield Curve and Macroeconomic Dynamics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(533), pages 1937-1970, November.
    11. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
    12. Dorrucci, Ettore & McKay, Julie, 2011. "The international monetary system after the financial crisis," Occasional Paper Series 123, European Central Bank.
    13. Reinhart, Karmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. ""This time is different": panorama of eight centuries of financial crises," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 77-114, March.
    14. Fiorella De Fiore & Oreste Tristani, 2011. "Credit and the Natural Rate of Interest," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 407-440, March.
    15. Patrick McGuire & Goetz von Peter, 2012. "The Dollar Shortage in Global Banking and the International Policy Response," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 155-178, June.
    16. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 215-268, November.
    17. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Global imbalances and the financial crisis: products of common causes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct, pages 131-172.
    18. Dorrucci, Ettore & McKay, Julie, 2011. "The international monetary system after the financial crisis," Occasional Paper Series 123, European Central Bank.
    19. Michael Dooley & David Folkerts‐Landau & Peter Garber, 2009. "Bretton Woods Ii Still Defines The International Monetary System," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 297-311, August.
    20. Catte, Pietro & Cova, Pietro & Pagano, Patrizio & Visco, Ignazio, 2011. "The role of macroeconomic policies in the global crisis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 787-803.
    21. Robert McCauley & Michela Scatigna, 2011. "Foreign exchange trading in emerging currencies: more financial, more offshore," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    22. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. Swanson, 2007. "Macroeconomic implications of changes in the term premium," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 89(Jul), pages 241-270.
    23. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
    24. Laidler, David, 2006. "Woodford and Wicksell on Interest and Prices: The Place of the Pure Credit Economy in the Theory of Monetary Policy," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 151-159, June.
    25. Leonardo Gambacorta, 2009. "Monetary policy and the risk-taking channel," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
    26. Francis E. Warnock & Veronica C. Warnock, 2005. "International Capital Flows and U.S. Interest Rates," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp103, IIIS.
    27. Naohiko Baba & Robert N McCauley & Srichander Ramaswamy, 2009. "US dollar money market funds and non-US banks," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    28. Kohn, Meir, 1986. "Monetary Analysis, the Equilibrium Method, and Keynes's "General Theory."," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1191-1224, December.
    29. Ricardo J. Caballero, 2010. "The "Other" Imbalance and the Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. Dupor, Bill, 2005. "Stabilizing non-fundamental asset price movements under discretion and limited information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 727-747, May.
    31. Emmanuel Farhi & Jean Tirole, 2009. "Leverage and the Central Banker's Put," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 589-593, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Claudio BORIO & Piti DISYATAT, 2010. "Global Imbalances and the Financial Crisis: Reassessing the Role of International Finance," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 5(2), pages 198-216, December.
    2. Claudio Borio, 2011. "Rediscovering the Macroeconomic Roots of Financial Stability Policy: Journey, Challenges, and a Way Forward," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 87-117, December.
    3. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Global imbalances and the financial crisis: products of common causes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct, pages 131-172.
    4. Claudio Borio, 2014. "The international monetary and financial system: its Achilles heel and what to do about it," Globalization Institute Working Papers 203, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    5. Borio, Claudio, 2014. "The financial cycle and macroeconomics: What have we learnt?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 182-198.
    6. Claudio Borio, 2011. "Central banking post-crisis: What compass for uncharted waters?," BIS Working Papers 353, Bank for International Settlements.
    7. Claudio Borio & Piti Disyatat, 2015. "Capital flows and the current account: Taking financing (more) seriously," BIS Working Papers 525, Bank for International Settlements.
    8. Bertaut, Carol & DeMarco, Laurie Pounder & Kamin, Steven & Tryon, Ralph, 2012. "ABS inflows to the United States and the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 219-234.
    9. Ansell, Ben & Broz, Lawrence, 2015. "Global capital markets, housing prices, and partisan fiscal policies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60930, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Ben W. Ansell & J. Lawrence Broz & Thomas Flaherty, 2018. "Global capital markets, housing prices, and partisan fiscal policies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 307-339, November.
    11. Daisuke Ikeda & Toan Phan & Timothy Sablik, 2020. "Asset Bubbles and Global Imbalances," Richmond Fed Economic Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, vol. 20, pages 1-4, January.
    12. Fredric Mishkin, 2011. "How Should Central Banks Respond to Asset-Price Bubbles? The 'Lean' versus 'Clean' Debate After the GFC," RBA Bulletin (Print copy discontinued), Reserve Bank of Australia, pages 59-70, June.
    13. Andrew Powell & Pilar Tavella, 2012. "Capital Inflow Surges in Emerging Economies: How Worried Should LAC Be?," Research Department Publications 4782, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    14. Dumitriu, Ramona & Stefanescu, Razvan, 2013. "Provocările politicii monetare [Monetary policy challenges]," MPRA Paper 50261, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 28 Sep 2013.
    15. Hyun Song Shin, 2014. "Adapting Macroprudential Policies to Global Liquidity Conditions," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Miguel Fuentes D. & Claudio E. Raddatz & Carmen M. Reinhart (ed.),Capital Mobility and Monetary Policy, edition 1, volume 18, chapter 2, pages 25-67, Central Bank of Chile.
    16. Okada, Keisuke, 2013. "The interaction effects of financial openness and institutions on international capital flows," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 131-143.
    17. Volosovych, Vadym, 2011. "Measuring financial market integration over the long run: Is there a U-shape?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1535-1561.
    18. Eichengreen, Barry & Esteves, Rui, 2019. "The Trials of the Trilemma: International Finance 1870-2017," CEPR Discussion Papers 13465, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Jaume Ventura & Fernando Broner, 2008. "Rethinking the effects of financial liberalization," 2008 Meeting Papers 747, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    20. Chiţu, Livia & Eichengreen, Barry & Mehl, Arnaud, 2014. "When did the dollar overtake sterling as the leading international currency? Evidence from the bond markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 225-245.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    global imbalances; saving glut; money; credit; capital flows; current account; interest rates; financial crisis;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:346. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/bisssch.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Christian Beslmeisl (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/bisssch.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.