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Surveillance by International Institutions: Lessons from the Global Financial and Economic Crisis

Listed author(s):
  • Kumiharu Shigehara

    (International Economic Policy Studies Association)

  • Paul Atkinson

    (Groupe d’Economie Mondiale de Sciences Po)

Registered author(s):

    This paper reviews key policy messages and warnings about developments in the run-up to the global financial and economic crisis that began in mid-2007 which are contained in the main publications of the IMF, the OECD and the BIS and discuss issues relevant to strengthening their surveillance activities for making appropriate policy recommendations and issuing warnings in order to prevent such crisis in the future. The review finds that the institutions did not recognize the need for monetary tightening in a timely way for either the US or the UK, two epicentres of the global crisis. While some concerns were expressed at early stages regarding financial market policies and developments, generally when risks seemed abstract or remote, warnings were too few, received too little emphasis in key editorial sections likely to attract attention and were rarely followed up. Important issues, notably the weak capital base and lack of resilience of the banking systems in the two countries, were missed almost entirely. In the light of this review, suggestions for improving surveillance are offered, relating to (1) strengthening analytical frameworks; (2) improving the current institutional context in which surveillance takes place; (3) staff and management issues; and (4) dissemination and communication. In addition, the need to re-design international frameworks for surveillance to integrate more fully new “major players” in the global economy and financial systems is briefly discussed. Surveillance internationale : Les leçons de la crise financière et économique mondiale La présente étude passe en revue les principaux messages et avertissements qui ont paru dans les grandes publications du FMI, de l'OCDE et de la BRI avant le déclenchement de la crise financière et économique mondiale au milieu de 2007, et examine les améliorations qui pourraient être apportées sur plusieurs plans aux activités de surveillance de ces trois institutions, afin que leurs recommandations et mises en garde puissent prévenir une nouvelle crise de ce type dans l'avenir. S'agissant de la politique monétaire, il apparaît que les institutions en question ne se sont pas rendu compte à temps de la nécessité d'un resserrement, aussi bien pour les États-Unis que pour le Royaume-Uni, les deux épicentres de la crise mondiale. Des préoccupations se sont fait jour assez tôt concernant la régulation et l'évolution des marchés financiers, en général lorsque les risques semblaient abstraits ou éloignés, mais les avertissements ont été rares, ils n'ont pas été suffisamment mis en relief dans les éditoriaux où ils auraient pu attirer l'attention, et ils n'ont guère été suivis d'effet. Plusieurs questions importantes, notamment la faiblesse de la base de capital et le manque de résilience des systèmes bancaires dans les deux pays considérés, ont été pratiquement ignorées. A la lumière de ce bilan, plusieurs améliorations sont proposées concernant 1) les cadres analytiques de la surveillance ; 2) le contexte institutionnel ; 3) les questions de personnel et d'organisation ; et 4) la diffusion et la communication des informations. En outre, la nécessité de revoir les mécanismes internationaux de surveillance afin d'y faire une plus large place aux nouveaux “acteurs majeurs” de l'économie mondiale et des systèmes financiers est brièvement évoquée.

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 860.

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    Date of creation: 17 May 2011
    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:860-en
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