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Financial Liberalisation and the South Korean Financial Crisis: Some Qualitative Evidence

Author

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  • Kevin Amess
  • Panicos Demetriades

    ()

Abstract

This paper provides a novel analysis of the South Korean financial crisis drawing on the findings of a unique survey of IMF/World Bank officials and South Korean economists. The survey reveals that over-optimism and inadequate recognition of financial risks inadvertently led to excessive risk taking by Korean financial intermediaries. It also indicates that the sources of over-optimistic assessments of East Asian economies, including Korea, were mainly to be found outside East Asia, including the IMF, the World Bank, western media and analysts. Weaknesses in risk management were the result of (i) lack of expertise in relation to handling the risks associated with capital flows, and (ii) disincentives to manage risks emanating from a relatively successful history of government provided safety nets for both industry and banking. Financial liberalisation widened risk-taking opportunities, by allowing lending to companies outside Korea. It also created additional disincentives for managing risk by intensifying competition and eroding bank franchise values. Finally, weaknesses in prudential regulation allowed bank portfolios to become much riskier, importantly in terms of maturity mis-matches between dollar-denominated assets and liabilities. The liquidity crisis, which followed the re-assessment of the South Korean economy by international lenders in late 1997, triggered a full-blown financial crisis because of the absence of an effective international lender of last resort.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Amess & Panicos Demetriades, 2001. "Financial Liberalisation and the South Korean Financial Crisis: Some Qualitative Evidence," Discussion Papers in Economics 01/3, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:01/3
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    File URL: http://www.le.ac.uk/economics/research/RePEc/lec/leecon/econ01-3.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Miller, Marcus & Zhang, Lei, 2000. "Sovereign Liquidity Crises: The Strategic Case for a Payments Standstill," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 335-362, January.
    2. Demetriades, Panicos O. & Luintel, Kul B., 2001. "Financial restraints in the South Korean miracle," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 459-479, April.
    3. McKinnon, Ronald I & Pill, Huw, 1997. "Credible Economic Liberalizations and Overborrowing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 189-193, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chang Woon Nam, 2008. "What Happened to Korea Ten Years Ago?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(4), pages 69-73, December.
    2. Klaus Abberger & Biswa Nath Bhattacharyay & Chang Woon Nam & Gernot Nerb & Siegfried Schönherr, 2014. "How Can the Crisis Vulnerability of Emerging Economies Be Reduced?," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 65, October.
    3. Knedlik, Tobias & Ströbel, Johannes, 2006. "The role of banking portfolios in the transmission from currency crises to banking crises - potential effects of Basel II," IWH Discussion Papers 21/2006, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial liberalisation; financial crisis; over-optimism; moral hazard;

    JEL classification:

    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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