Banking Crises and Sovereign Defaults in Emerging Markets: Exploring the Links

46 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2014

Date Written: July 15, 2014


This paper provides a set of stylised facts on the mechanisms through which banking and sovereign distress feed into each other, using a large sample of emerging economies over three decades. We first define "twin crises" as events where banking crises and sovereign defaults combine, and further distinguish between those banking crises that end in sovereign debt crises, and vice-versa. We then assess what differentiates "single" episodes from "twin" ones. Using an event analysis methodology, we study the behaviour around crises of variables describing the balance sheet interconnection between the banking and public sectors, the characteristics of the banking sector, the state of public finances and the macroeconomic context. We find that there are systematic differences between "single" and "twin" crises across all these dimensions. Additionally, we find that "twin" crises are heterogeneous events: taking into account the proper time sequence of crises within "twin" episodes is important for understanding their drivers, transmission channels and economic consequences. Our results shed light on the mechanisms surrounding feedback loops of sovereign and banking stress.

Keywords: banking crises, sovereign defaults, feedback loops, balance sheets

JEL Classification: E44, F34, G01, H63

Suggested Citation

Balteanu, Irina and Erce, Aitor, Banking Crises and Sovereign Defaults in Emerging Markets: Exploring the Links (July 15, 2014). Banco de Espana Working Paper No. 1414, Available at SSRN: or

Irina Balteanu (Contact Author)

Banco de España ( email )

Alcala 50
Madrid 28014

Aitor Erce

UPNA ( email )


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