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The social impact of financial crises: evidence from the global financial crisis


  • Otker-Robe, Inci
  • Podpiera, Anca Maria


Financial systems can contribute to economic development by providing people with useful tools for risk management, but when they fail to manage the risks they retain, they can create severe financial crises with devastating social and economic effects. The financial crisis that hit the world economy in 2008–2009 has transformed the lives of many individuals and families, even in advanced countries, where millions of people fell, or are at risk of falling, into poverty and exclusion. For most regions and income groups in developing countries, progress to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 has slowed and income distribution has worsened for a number of countries. Countries hardest hit by the crisis lost more than a decade of economic time. As the efforts to strengthen the financial systems and improve the resilience of the global financial system continue around the world, the challenge for policy makers is to incorporate the lessons from the failures to take into consideration the complex linkages between financial, fiscal, real, and social risks and ensure effective risk management at all levels of society. The recent experience underscores the importance of: systematic, proactive, and integrated risk management by individuals, societies, and governments to prepare for adverse consequences of financial shocks; mainstreaming proactive risk management into development agendas; establishing contingency planning mechanisms to avoid unintended economic and social consequences of crisis management policies and building a better capacity to analyze complex linkages and feedback loops between financial, sovereign, real and social risks; maintaining fiscal room; and creating well-designed social protection policies that target the vulnerable, while ensuring fiscal sustainability.

Suggested Citation

  • Otker-Robe, Inci & Podpiera, Anca Maria, 2013. "The social impact of financial crises: evidence from the global financial crisis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6703, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6703

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    3. Goh, Chor-ching & Kang, Sung Jin & Sawada, Y asuyuki, 2005. "How did Korean households cope with negative shocks from the financial crisis?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 239-254, April.
    4. Dasgupta, Basab & Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan, 2011. "Income shocks reduce human capital investments : evidence from five east European countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5926, The World Bank.
    5. Glewwe, Paul & Hall, Gillette, 1998. "Are some groups more vulnerable to macroeconomic shocks than others? Hypothesis tests based on panel data from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 181-206, June.
    6. Sugawara, Naotaka & Sulla, Victor & Taylor, Ashley & Tiongson, Erwin R., 2010. "The Crisis Hits Home: Stress-Testing Households in Europe and Central Asia," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 12, pages 1-4, May.
    7. Fiszbein, Ariel & Adúriz, Isidro & Giovagnoli, Paula Inés, 2003. "The Argentine crisis and its impact on household welfare," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
    8. International Monetary Fund, 2002. "Financial Crises, Poverty, and Income Distribution," IMF Working Papers 02/4, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Kokkevi & Myrto Stavrou & Eleftheria Kanavou & Anastasios Fotiou, 2014. "The Repercussions of the Economic Recession in Greece on Adolescents and their Families," Papers inwopa732, Innocenti Working Papers.
    2. repec:spr:chinre:v:11:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s12187-017-9458-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sarti, Simone & Terraneo, Marco & Tognetti Bordogna, Mara, 2017. "Poverty and private health expenditures in Italian households during the recent crisis," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 307-314.
    4. Inci Otker, 2014. "Global Risks and Collective Action Failures; What Can the International Community Do?," IMF Working Papers 14/195, International Monetary Fund.
    5. repec:bla:asiapr:v:12:y:2017:i:1:p:18-40 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Population Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Labor Policies; Emerging Markets; Debt Markets;

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