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Towards a new early warning system of financial crises

  • Bussière, Matthieu
  • Fratzscher, Marcel

This paper develops a new Early Warning System (EWS) model for predicting financial crises, based on a multinomial logit model. It is shown that EWS approaches based on binomial discrete-dependent-variable models can be subject to what we call a post-crisis bias. This bias arises when no distinction is made between tranquil periods, when economic fundamentals are largely sound and sustainable, and crisis/post-crisis periods, when economic variables go through an adjustment process before reaching a more sustainable level or growth path. We show that applying a multinomial logit model, which allows distinguishing between more than two states, is a valid way of solving this problem and constitutes a substantial improvement in the ability to forecast financial crises. The empirical results reveal that, for a set of 32 open emerging markets from 1993 till the present, the model would have correctly predicted a large majority of crises in emerging markets. Moreover, we derive general results about the optimal design of EWS models, which allows policy-makers to make an optimal choice based on their degree of risk-aversion against unanticipated financial crises. JEL Classification: F31, F47, F30

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0145.

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Date of creation: May 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20020145
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