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The international monetary and financial system: a capital account perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Borio, Claudio

    () (Bank of International Settlements)

  • James, Harold

    () (Princeton University)

  • Shin, Hyun Song

    (Bank of International Settlements)

Abstract

In analysing the performance of the international monetary and financial system (IMFS), too much attention has been paid to the current account and far too little to the capital account. This is true of both formal analytical models and historical narratives. This approach may be reasonable when financial markets are highly segmented. But it is badly inadequate when they are closely integrated, as they have been most of the time since at least the second half of the 19th century. Zeroing on the capital account shifts the focus from the goods markets to asset markets and balance sheets. Seen through this lens, the IMFS looks quite different. Its main weakness is its propensity to amplify financial surges and collapses that generate costly financial crises – its “excess financial elasticity”. And assessing the vulnerabilities it hides requires going beyond the residence/non-resident distinction that underpins the balance of payments to look at the consolidated balance sheets of the decision units that straddle national borders, be these banks or non-financial companies. We illustrate these points by revisiting two defining historical phases in which financial meltdowns figured prominently, the interwar years and the more recent Great Financial Crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Borio, Claudio & James, Harold & Shin, Hyun Song, 2014. "The international monetary and financial system: a capital account perspective," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 204, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:204
    DOI: 10.24149/gwp204
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    File URL: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/institute/wpapers/2014/0204.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:mtp:titles:0262037165 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Accominotti, Olivier, 2016. "International Banking and Transmission of the 1931 Financial Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 11651, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2017. "International Monetary Relations: Taking Finance Seriously," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 3-28, Summer.
    4. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher M. Meissner, 2015. "Growing Up to Stability? Financial Globalization, Financial Development and Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 21287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Gabriel Felbermayr & Thomas Mayer & Gerhard Illing & Jürgen Pfister & Stephan Klasen & Michael Jakob & Heinz-Jürgen Axt & Harold James, 2015. "Globalisierung und regionale Integration: Ökonomische Entwicklungen, Perspektiven und Grenzen," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 68(16), pages 03-30, August.
    6. repec:eee:macchp:v2-355 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Borio, Claudio, 2016. "On the centrality of the current account in international economics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 266-274.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General

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