Why do stock and housing markets sometimes experience amazing booms followed by massive busts and why is this happening more and more frequently? Boom and Bust reveals why bubbles happen, and why some bubbles have catastrophic economic, social and political consequences, whilst others have actually benefited society.
International investors poured vast sums of money into East Asian and Latin American countries during the mid-1990s, when the emerging market boom was at its peak. Then Thailand stumbled and panic seized the markets, and boom gave way to bust. Investors suffered large financial losses, while Asian countries suddenly experienced large capital outflows and the macroeconomic pressures these wrought plunged countries that had been growing rapidly ("miraculously") into crisis. Much the same had happened in Latin America when the debt crisis broke in 1982. This book investigates what can be done to make the international capital market a constructive force in promoting development in emerging markets. John Williamson concludes that the problem of cyclicality that has undermined the value of international borrowing cannot be tackled just, or even mainly, from the supply side, but will require actions on the part of both creditors and debtors.
Analysis and evidence of how the factors that give rise to boom-bust cycles in fast-growing developing economies also enhance long-run growth. The volatility that has hit many middle-income countries (MICs) after liberalizing their financial markets has prompted critics to call for new policies to stabilize these boom-bust cycles. But, as Aaron Tornell and Frank Westermann point out in this book, over the last two decades most of the developing countries that have experienced lending booms and busts have also exhibited the fastest growth among MICs. Countries with more stable credit growth, by contrast, have exhibited, on average, lower growth rates. Factors that contribute to financial fragility thus appear, paradoxically, to be a source of long-run growth as well. Tornell and Westermann analyze boom-bust cycles in the developing world and discuss how these cycles are generated by credit market imperfections. They explain why the financial liberalization that allows countries to overcome imperfections impeding rapid growth also generates the financial fragility that leads to greater volatility and occasional crises. The conceptual framework they present illustrates this linkage and allows Tornell and Westermann to address normative questions regarding liberalization policies.The authors also characterize key macroeconomic regularities observed across MICs, showing that credit markets play a key role not only in boom-bust episodes but in the strong "credit channel" observed during tranquil times. A theoretical framework is then presented that explains how credit market imperfections can account for these empirical patterns. Finally, Tornell and Westermann provide microeconomic evidence on the credit market imperfections that drive the results of the theoretical framework, finding that asymmetries between tradables and nontradables are key to understanding the patterns in MIC data.
Few financial crises, historically speaking, have attracted such attention as the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles of 1719–20. The twin bubbles had major economic and political implications, sending shock waves through the whole of Europe; they astonished contemporaries, and, to a large extent, they still resonate today. This volume offers new readings of these events, drawing on fresh research and new evidence that challenge traditional interpretations. The chapters engage, in particular, with: the geographical frame of the 1719-20 bubbles their social, cultural, economic and political impact the ways in which contemporaries understood speculation the contributions and impact of a diverse array of participants popular and print memorialization of the events Overall, the volume helps to rewrite the history of the 1719–20 bubbles and to recontextualize their place within eighteenth-century history.
Traces the history of a New York office building to argue that one of the strengths of capitalism is that when economic booms lead inevitably to busts, the system is prepared to take advantage of its failures