What Makes High Credit Growth Harmful? Evidence from Banking Crises

43 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2012

See all articles by Puspa Delima Amri

Puspa Delima Amri

Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University; Department of Economics Ithaca College

Apanard Penny Prabha

University of Illinois at Springfield

Clas Wihlborg

Chapman University; University West

Date Written: December 5, 2012


Rapid credit growth seems to precede many episodes of banking crises in both advanced and emerging market economies including the recent global financial crisis of 2007-09. All episodes of high credit growth are not followed by crisis, however. We argue that credit growth is more likely to lead to a banking crisis if the financial system is characterized by fragility caused by distortions or imbalances in the system. The indicators of potential fragility we point to in this paper are high leverage, financial liberalization, a high rate of capital inflows (e.g. bank loans) from abroad, surges in asset prices, the existence of explicit or implicit protection of banks’ creditors, and weak supervision of banks’ risk-taking. We test the hypotheses that these factors interact with high credit growth to increase the likelihood of a banking crisis. The empirical work is based on data for 77 countries for the period 1973-2009. The results show that in advanced economies relatively high credit growth over several years increases the likelihood of a banking crisis and that this effect is strengthened by high leverage, weak capital regulation and supervision, and cumulative asset price inflation. These results are robust with respect to inclusion of the recent crisis period. The other financial fragility indicators have independent effects on the likelihood of banking crisis but the significance of effects vary across specifications, types of countries and time period.

Keywords: Banking Crises, Credit Growth, Leverage, Financial Liberalization, Capital Regulation and Supervision

JEL Classification: E51, G01, G21, G28

Suggested Citation

Amri, Puspa Delima and Amri, Puspa Delima and Prabha, Apanard Penny and Wihlborg, Clas, What Makes High Credit Growth Harmful? Evidence from Banking Crises (December 5, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2186569 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2186569

Puspa Delima Amri (Contact Author)

Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University ( email )

150 E. Tenth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Department of Economics Ithaca College ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14850
United States

Apanard Penny Prabha

University of Illinois at Springfield ( email )

Springfield, IL 62703
United States

Clas Wihlborg

Chapman University ( email )

1 University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States
+17147447630 (Phone)

University West ( email )

Trollhättan, 46186

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