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Financial Derivatives: Harnessing the Benefits and Containing the Dangers


  • Willem Thorbecke

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)


Financial derivatives have harmed or destroyed numerous financial firms, nonfinancial firms, and municipalities in 1994 and 1995. This paper discusses the dangers of derivatives and also their benefits. It then considers policies that will maintain the benefits while containing the risks. These include improving the accounting framework used to disclose derivatives transactions, increasing transparency between dealers and end-users, and reducing legal uncertainties between countries. This paper also argues that the government needs to make a concerted effort to acquire more information concerning the dangers that derivatives trading pose to the financial system. If such a study revealed that the systemic risks are too high, then remedial legislation regulating the safety and soundness of nonbank derivatives dealers would be required. Until such a study is conducted, the government should seek to improve the in-house risk management techniques used by major players in the derivatives market.

Suggested Citation

  • Willem Thorbecke, 1998. "Financial Derivatives: Harnessing the Benefits and Containing the Dangers," Macroeconomics 9812001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9812001 Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 25; figures: included

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary Gorton & Richard Rosen, 1995. "Banks and Derivatives," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 299-349 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jürgen Von Hagen & Ingo Fender, 1998. "Central Bank Policy in a More Perfect Financial System," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 493-532, January.

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    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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