Banking Crises: An Equal Opportunity Menace

67 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2009

See all articles by Carmen M. Reinhart

Carmen M. Reinhart

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kenneth Rogoff

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2009

Abstract

The historical frequency of banking crises is quite similar in high- and middle-to-low-income countries, with quantitative and qualitative parallels in both the run-ups and the aftermath. We establish these regularities using a unique dataset spanning from Denmark's financial panic during the Napoleonic War to the ongoing global financial crisis sparked by subprime mortgage defaults in the United States.

Banking crises dramatically weaken fiscal positions in both groups, with government revenues invariably contracting, and fiscal expenditures often expanding sharply. Three years after a financial crisis central government debt increases, on average, by about 86 percent. Thus the fiscal burden of banking crisis extends far beyond the commonly cited cost of the bailouts. Our new dataset includes housing price data for emerging markets; these allow us to show that the real estate price cycles around banking crises are similar in duration and amplitude to those in advanced economies, with the busts averaging four to six years. Corroborating earlier work, we find that systemic banking crises are typically preceded by asset price bubbles, large capital inflows and credit booms, in rich and poor countries alike.

Keywords: bail out, banking, crisis, debt, equity prices, house prices

JEL Classification: E6, F3, N10

Suggested Citation

Reinhart, Carmen M. and Rogoff, Kenneth S., Banking Crises: An Equal Opportunity Menace (January 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7131. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1345657

Carmen M. Reinhart (Contact Author)

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Kenneth S. Rogoff

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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617-495-7730 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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