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Lending of first versus lending of last resort: The Bulgarian financial crisis of 1996/1997


  • Berlemann, Michael
  • Nenovsky, Nikolay


In 1996/1997 Bulgaria was hit by a severe financial crisis, spreading from a banking crisis to a currency crisis. However, in comparison to the Asian, the Russian or the recent Tango Crisis the Bulgarian Crisis did arouse relatively low international interest. We argue that the Bulgarian Financial Crisis might serve as an illustrative example of a twin crisis involving both a currency and a banking crisis. While the Bulgarian Crisis had some properties of so-called fundamental crises, as explained by first generation models of currency crises, the severity of the crisis was primarily due to systematic moral hazard behaviour of the banking sector. Special attention is paid to the crucial role the Bulgarian National Bank played in the pre-crisis and during the crisis period when acting more as a lender of first than a lender of last resort. We also show how Bulgaria managed to overcome the crisis by introducing a second generation currency board allowing the central bank to act as a strictly limited lender of last resort thereby making the country less prone to a financial crisis in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Berlemann, Michael & Nenovsky, Nikolay, 2003. "Lending of first versus lending of last resort: The Bulgarian financial crisis of 1996/1997," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 11/03, Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuddps:1103

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nikolay Nenovsky & Petar Chobanov, 2004. "Dynamics of the Inter-Bank Market in Bulgaria," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 3, pages 32-52.
    2. Sébastien Charles & Jonathan Marie, 2016. "Hyperinflation bulgare de 1997 : transition, fragilité bancaire et change," CEPN Working Papers 2016-13, Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord.
    3. Minea, Alexandru & Rault, Christophe, 2011. "External monetary shocks and monetary integration: Evidence from the Bulgarian currency board," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 2271-2281, September.
    4. Berlemann, Michael & Hilscher, Kai, 2010. "Effective monetary policy conservatism: A comparison of 11 OECD countries," HWWI Research Papers 2-21, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    5. Kiril Tochkov & Nikolay Nenovsky, 2011. "Institutional Reforms, EU Accession, and Bank Efficiency in Transition Economies: Evidence from Bulgaria," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 47(1), pages 113-129, January.
    6. Berlemann, Michael & Hielscher, Kai, 2011. "A Time-varying Indicator of Effective Monetary Policy Conservatism," Working Paper 112/2011, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    7. Dimiter IALNAZOV & Nikolay NENOVSKY, 2010. "The Evolution of Post-Communist Countries: An Interpretation from the Perspective of Cooperation," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 1600, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
    8. Michael Berlemann & Kai Hielscher, 2016. "Measuring Effective Monetary Policy Conservatism of Central Banks: A Dynamic Approach," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 17(1), pages 105-132, May.
    9. Berlemann, Michael & Hielscher, Kai, 2009. "Measuring Effective Monetary Policy Conservatism," Working Paper 89/2009, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    10. Peet, Evan D. & Fink, Günther & Fawzi, Wafaie, 2015. "Returns to education in developing countries: Evidence from the living standards and measurement study surveys," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 69-90.
    11. Dimiter Ialnazov & Nikolay Nenovsky, 2011. "A Game Theory Interpretation of the Post-Communist Evolution," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 41-56.
    12. Günther Fink & Evan Peet, 2016. "Returns to Education in Low and Middle-Income Countries: Evidence from the Living Standards and Measurement Surveys," PGDA Working Papers 12014, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
    13. Michael Berlemann & Kai Hielscher, 2013. "Effective Monetary Policy Conservatism: A Comparison of 13 OECD Countries," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(3), pages 267-290, July.

    More about this item


    Lender of Last Resort; Financial Crises; Twin Crises; Currency Boards; Bulgaria;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • P34 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Finance


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