IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Weathering the financial storm: The importance of fundamentals and flexibility

  • Thorvardur Tjörvi Ólafsson
  • Thórarinn G. Pétursson

The recent global financial tsunami has had economic consequences that have not been witnessed since the Great Depression. But while some countries suffered a particularly large contraction in economic activity on top of a system-wide banking and currency collapse, others came off relatively lightly. In this paper, we attempt to explain this cross-country variation in post-crisis experience, using a wide variety of pre-crisis explanatory variables in a sample of 46 medium-to-high income countries. We find that domestic macroeconomic imbalances and vulnerabilities were crucial for determining the incidence and severity of the crisis. In particular, we find that the pre-crisis rate of inflation captures factors which are important in explaining the post-crisis experience. Our results also suggest an important role for financial factors. In particular, we find that large banking systems tended to be associated with a deeper and more protracted consumption contraction and a higher risk of a systemic banking or currency crisis. Our results suggest that greater exchange rate flexibility coincided with a smaller and shorter contraction, but at the same time increased the risk of a banking and currency crisis. Countries with exchange rate pegs outside EMU were hit particularly hard, while inflation targeting seemed to mitigate the crisis. Finally, we find some evidence suggesting a role for international real linkages and institutional factors. Our key results are robust to various alterations in the empirical setup and we are able to explain a significant share of the cross-country variation in the depth and duration of the crisis and provide quite sharp predictions of the incidence of banking and currency crises. This suggests that country-specific initial conditions played an important role in determining the economic impact of the crisis and, in particular, that countries with sound fundamentals and flexible economic frameworks were better able to weather the financial storm.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland in its series Economics with number wp51.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ice:wpaper:wp51
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Kalkofnsvegi 1, 150 Reykjavik

Phone: 569-9600
Fax: 569-9605
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Irineu E de Carvalho Filho, 2010. "Inflation Targeting and the Crisis; An Empirical Assessment," IMF Working Papers 10/45, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Andrew K. Rose & Mark M. Spiegel, 2009. "Cross-country causes and consequences of the 2008 crisis: international linkages and American exposure," Working Paper Series 2009-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Lane, Philip R. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2006. "The External Wealth of Nations Mark II: Revised and Extended Estimates of Foreign Assets and Liabilities, 1970-2004," CEPR Discussion Papers 5644, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld & Jay C. Shambaugh & Alan M. Taylor, 2009. "Financial Instability, Reserves, and Central Bank Swap Lines in the Panic of 2008," NBER Working Papers 14826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Andrei A. Levchenko & Logan Lewis & Linda L. Tesar, 2009. "The Collapse of International Trade During the 2008-2009 Crisis: In Search of the Smoking Gun," Working Papers 592, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  6. Philip R Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2011. "The Cross-Country Incidence of the Global Crisis," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 59(1), pages 77-110, April.
  7. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "Currency crashes in emerging markets: an empirical treatment," International Finance Discussion Papers 534, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Andrew K. Rose & Mark M. Spiegel, 2011. "Cross-country causes and consequences of the crisis: an update," Working Paper Series 2011-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Andrew K. Rose & Mark M. Spiegel, 2009. "Cross-country causes and consequences of the 2008 crisis: early warning," Working Paper Series 2009-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Michael Bordo & Barry Eichengreen & Daniela Klingebiel & Maria Soledad Martinez-Peria, 2001. "Is the crisis problem growing more severe?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 51-82, 04.
  11. M. Ayhan Kose & Eswar S. Prasad & Marco E. Terrones, 2008. "Does Openness to International Financial Flows Raise Productivity Growth?," NBER Working Papers 14558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Olivier J Blanchard & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Paolo Mauro, 2010. "Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/03, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Marion Kohler & Christian Upper, 2009. "Financial crises and economic activity," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 89-135.
  14. Hui Tong & Shang-Jin Wei, 2009. "The Composition Matters; Capital Inflows and Liquidity Crunch During a Global Economic Crisis," IMF Working Papers 09/164, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Kristin J. Forbes & Menzie D. Chinn, 2003. "A Decomposition of Global Linkages in Financial Markets Over Time," NBER Working Papers 9555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Honohan, Patrick, 2002. "Comment on "Costs of banking system instability: Some empirical evidence"," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 857-860, May.
  18. Robert J. Barro & Jose F. Ursua, 2008. "Macroeconomic Crises since 1870," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 255-350.
  19. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Preface," MPRA Paper 17451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Luis Servén, 2010. "Are All the Sacred Cows Dead? Implications of the Financial Crisis for Macro- and Financial Policies," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 91-124, February.
  21. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3575, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Fogli, Alessandra, 2003. "Comment on: "Institutional causes, macroeconomic symptoms: volatility, crises and growth"," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 125-131, January.
  23. Kenneth N. Kuttner & Adam S. Posen, 2000. "Inflation, Monetary Transparency, and G3 Exchange Rate Volatility," Working Paper Series WP00-6, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  24. Berkmen, S. Pelin & Gelos, Gaston & Rennhack, Robert & Walsh, James P., 2012. "The global financial crisis: Explaining cross-country differences in the output impact," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 42-59.
  25. N/A, 2009. "On the Recession," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 24(3), pages 253-253, May.
  26. Claessens, Stijn & Kose, Ayhan & Terrones, Marco E, 2008. "What Happens During Recessions, Crunches and Busts?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7085, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Fabian Valencia & Luc Laeven, 2008. "Systemic Banking Crises; A New Database," IMF Working Papers 08/224, International Monetary Fund.
  28. Philip R. Lane & Gian M Milesi-Ferretti, 2006. "The External Wealth of Nations Mark II; Revised and Extended Estimates of Foreign Assets and Liabilities, 1970–2004," IMF Working Papers 06/69, International Monetary Fund.
  29. Fratzscher, Marcel, 2009. "What explains global exchange rate movements during the financial crisis?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1390-1407, December.
  30. Stijn Claessens & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Deniz Igan & Luc Laeven, 2010. "Cross-country experiences and policy implications from the global financial crisis," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 267-293, 04.
  31. Brahima Coulibaly, 2009. "Currency unions and currency crises: an empirical assessment," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(3), pages 199-221.
  32. Marc G Quintyn & David S. Hoelscher, 2003. "Managing Systemic Banking Crises," IMF Occasional Papers 224, International Monetary Fund.
  33. Michael P. Dooley & Eduardo Fernandez-Arias & Kenneth M. Kletzer, 1994. "Recent Private Capital Inflows to Developing Countries: Is the Debt Crisis History?," NBER Working Papers 4792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. E Philip Davis, 2008. "Liquidity, Financial Crises and the Lender of Last Resort – How Much of a Departure is the Sub-prime Crisis?," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Paul Bloxham & Christopher Kent (ed.), Lessons from the Financial Turmoil of 2007 and 2008 Reserve Bank of Australia.
  35. Patrick McGuire & Goetz von Peter, 2009. "The US dollar shortage in global banking and the international policy response," BIS Working Papers 291, Bank for International Settlements.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ice:wpaper:wp51. 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: (Central Bank of Iceland)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.