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The Anatomy of Financial Crises

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  • Barry Eichengreen
  • Richard Portes

Abstract

A financial crisis is a disturbance to financial markets. associated typically with falling asset prices and insolvency among debtors and intermediaries, which spreads through the financial system, disrupting the market’s capacity to allocate capital. In this paper we analyze the generation and propagation of financial crises in an international setting. We provide a perspective on the danger of a serious disruption to the global financial system by comparing the last full-fledged financial crisis - that of the 1930s - with conditions prevailing today. Our definition of a financial crisis implies a distinction between generalized financial crises on the one hand and isolated bank failures, debt defaults and foreign-exchange market disturbances on the other. We represent this distinction in three sets of linkages: between debt defaults; and between exchange-market disturbances and bank failures. In both the 1930s and 1980s, the institutional environment was drastically altered by rapid change in foreign exchange markets, in international capital markets, and in the structure of domestic banking systems. Our comparative analysis underscores the critical role played by institutional arrangements in financial markets as a determinant of the system's vulnerability to destabilizing shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen & Richard Portes, 1987. "The Anatomy of Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 2126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2126
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    1. Buiter,Willem H. & Marston,Richard C., 1986. "International Economic Policy Coordination," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521337809, October.
    2. Portes, Richard, 1986. "Finance, Trade and Development: Issues in Transatlantic Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 100, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    5. Epstein, Gerald & Ferguson, Thomas, 1984. "Monetary Policy, Loan Liquidation, and Industrial Conflict: The Federal Reserve and the Open Market Operations of 1932," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(04), pages 957-983, December.
    6. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "External Debt and Macroeconomic Performance in Latin America and East Asia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(2), pages 523-573.
    7. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "Can exchange rate predictability be achieved without monetary convergence? : Evidence from the EMS," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 93-115.
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    9. Eichengreen, Barry & Portes, Richard, 1986. "Debt and default in the 1930s : Causes and consequences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 599-640, June.
    10. Eichengreen, Barry & Wyplosz, Charles, 1986. "The Economic Consequences of the Franc Poincare," CEPR Discussion Papers 136, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Balogh, Thomas & Graham, Andrew, 1979. "The Transfer Problem Revisited: Analogies between the Reparations Payments of the 1920s and the Problems of the OPEC Surpluses," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 41(3), pages 183-191, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barry Eichengreen & Richard Portes, 1989. "Dealing With Debt: The 1930s and the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 2867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Charles Wyplosz, 1997. "EMU: Why and How It Might Happen," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 3-21, Fall.
    3. Michael D. Bordo & Angela Redish, 1988. "Costs And Benefits Of Exchange Rate Stability: Canada'S Interwar Experience," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 6(2), pages 115-130, April.
    4. Barry Eichengreen, 1988. "Resolving Debt Crises: An Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 2555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Raphael H. Solomon, 2003. "Anatomy of a Twin Crisis," Staff Working Papers 03-41, Bank of Canada.
    6. repec:wsi:rpbfmp:v:01:y:1998:i:01:n:s0219091598000053 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Anne Frémont & Jacques Mélitz & Frédéric Zumer, 2000. "Discrimination par le marché entre les dettes des États membres de l'UEM," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 72(1), pages 39-69.
    8. Lestano & Jacobs, Jan & Kuper, Gerard H., 2003. "Indicators of financial crises do work! : an early-warning system for six Asian countries," CCSO Working Papers 200313, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
    9. Chow, Edward H., 1998. "Oil crises and sovereign debt's private financingedward," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 437-452.
    10. Michael D. Bordo & Bruce Mizrach & Anna J. Schwartz, 1998. "Real versus Pseudo-International Systemic Risk Some Lessons from History," Review of Pacific Basin Financial Markets and Policies (RPBFMP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(01), pages 31-58.
    11. Carolyn Currie, 2003. "Towards a General Theory of Financial Regulation: Predicting, Measuring and Preventing Financial Crises," Working Paper Series 132, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
    12. Barry Eichengreen, 1987. "Hegemonic Stability Theories of the International Monetary System," NBER Working Papers 2193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. William C. Hunter & David A. Marshall, 1999. "Thoughts on financial derivatives, systematic risk, and central banking: a review of some recent developments," Working Paper Series WP-99-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    14. Ayala, Alfonso, 2011. "Una introducción a los modelos de crisis financieras
      [A introduction to models financial crisis]
      ," MPRA Paper 42411, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Portes, Richard, 2001. "The European Contribution to International Financial Stability," CEPR Discussion Papers 2956, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Mauricio Avella Gómez, 2006. "El Acceso De Colombia Al Financiamiento Externo," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 002450, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    17. Sverre Knutsen, 2012. "Why do banking crises occur? The American subprime crisis compared with the Norwegian banking crisis 1987-92," Working Paper 2012/03, Norges Bank.
    18. Mauricio Avella Gómez, 2006. "El Acceso De Colombia Al Financiamiento Externo Durante Durante," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 002451, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    19. Stefanescu, Razvan & Dumitriu, Ramona, 2015. "Conţinutul analizei seriilor de timp financiare
      [The Essentials of the Analysis of Financial Time Series]
      ," MPRA Paper 67175, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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