Monday, September 3, 2012

Financial crisis: Why not to expect recovery anytime soon

Over at The Economist blog Free Exchange we're reminded that recessions built off of bubble's take a long time to recover from:

To understand the effects of an economic crisis, you have to go back to its roots. A new study  by Alan Taylor draws attention back to the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. Through a series of tests run on a sample of 14 advanced economies between 1870 and 2008, Mr Taylor establishes a link between the growth of private sector credit and the likelihood of financial crisis. The link between crisis and credit is stronger than between crises and growth in the broad money supply, the current account deficit, or an increase in public debt.

Over the 138-year timeframe Mr Taylor finds crisis preceded by the development of excess credit, as in Ireland and Spain today, are more common than crisis underpinned by excessive government borrowing, like in Greece. Fiscal strains in themselves do not tend to result in financial crisis.

When the boom period of credit expansion is coupled with growth in public sector borrowing, however, the subsequent negative impact on the economy will be worse. Why? When a crash occurs, governments will not have the fiscal capacity to buffer the crisis due to their already stretched borrowing levels. Instead, they become forced to retrench and adopt austerity measures—which tend to drag on growth further, prolonging recession.

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