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The First Global Financial Crisis of the 21st Century

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Global financial markets are showing strains on a scale and scope not witnessed in the past three-quarters of a century. What started with elevated losses on US subprime mortgages has spread beyond the borders of the United States and the confines of the mortgage market. Risk spreads have ballooned, liquidity in some market segments has dried up and large complex financial institutions have admitted significant losses. Bank runs are no longer the subject exclusively of history.
These events have challenged policy-makers, and the responses have varied across regions. The ECB has injected reserves in unprecedented volumes. The Bank of England participated in the bailout and, ultimately, the nationalization of a depository, Northern Rock. The US Federal Reserve has introduced a variety of new facilities and extended its support beyond the depository sector.
These events have also challenged economists to explain why the crisis developed, how it is unfolding, and what can be done. This volume compiles contributions by leading economists in VoxEU over the past year that attempt to answer these questions. We have grouped these contributions into three sections corresponding to those three critical questions.

Why did the crisis happen?
The first set of articles contains reflections on the reasons for the crisis. Although it is tempting to suggest that the crisis was inevitable with hindsight, several articles emphasize the inherent uncertainty of economic analysis. Dell’Ariccia, Igan and Laeven discuss the role of uncertainty in the subprime lending boom. Persaud and Danielsson both caution against the overreliance on standardized quantitative risk models. Finally, Wyplosz counsels prudence when analysing the crisis and its causes in the face of high uncertainty.

Kľúčové slová:




financial crisis

global financial crisis




finančná kríza


globálna ekonomika

global econimics

  • Preface ix
    Introduction 1
    Section 1 Why Did the Crisis Happen? 5
    The relationship between the recent boom and the current 7
    delinquencies in subprime mortgages
    Giovanni Dell’Ariccia, Deniz Igan and Luc Laeven
    Why bank risk models failed 11
    Avinash Persaud
    Blame the models 13
    Jon Danielsson
    The subprime crisis: observations on the emerging debate 17
    Charles Wyplosz
    The subprime series, part 1: Financial crises are not 21
    going away
    Stephen G. Cecchetti
    The subprime series, part 2: Deposit insurance and the 25
    lender of last resort
    Stephen G. Cecchetti
    The subprime series, part 3: Why central banks should be 29
    financial supervisors
    Stephen G. Cecchetti
    The subprime series, part 4: Does well-designed monetary 33
    policy encourage risk- taking?
    Stephen G. Cecchetti
    The subprime crisis: Greenspan’s Legacy 37
    Tito Boeri and Luigi Guiso
    The impact of short-term interest rates on risk-taking: 41
    hard evidence
    Vasso P. Ioannidou, Steven Ongena and Jose Luis Peydró
    Why did bank supervision fail? 45
    Guido Tabellini
    Section 3 What Can Be Done? 119
    The subprime crisis: Who pays and what needs fixing 121
    Marco Onado
    Filling the information gap 125
    Alberto Giovannini and Luigi Spaventa
    Lessons from the North Atlantic financial crisis 129
    Willem Buiter
    Lessons from Northern Rock: banking and shadow 133
    Willem Buiter
    Lessons from Northern Rock: how to handle failure 137
    Willem Buiter
    Ratings agency reform 145
    Richard Portes
    How to avoid further credit and liquidity confidence crises 151
    Guillermo de la Dehesa
    The inappropriateness of financial regulation 155
    Avinash Persaud
    There is more to central banking than inflation targeting 159
    Paul De Grauwe
    Can monetary policy really be used to stabilize asset prices? 163
    Katrin Assenmacher-Wesche and Stefan Gerlach
    A missed opportunity for the Fed 167
    Willem Buiter and Anne Sibert
    The central bank as the market-maker of last resort: 171
    from lender of last resort to market-maker of last resort
    Willem Buiter and Anne Sibert
    Avoiding disorderly deleveraging 179
    Luigi Spaventa
    Chronology 183
    Glossary 191

  • Centre for Economic Policy Research: The First Global Financial Crisis of the 21st Century, A VoxEU.org Publication, ISBN: 978-0-9557009-3-4