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Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

E. Philip Davis

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780198233312
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596124 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198233310.001.0001
Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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A remarkable feature of the period since 1970 has been the patterns of rapid and turbulent change in financing behaviour and financial structure in many advanced countries. These patterns have, in turn, often been marked by rising indebtedness, volatile asset prices, and periods of financial stress, whether in the non‐financial sector, the financial sector, or both. At the same time, the economics profession has seen a notable advance in the scope and depth of the theory of finance, particularly as it relates to the nature and behaviour of financial institutions and markets. In this context, the objective of the book is to explore, in both theoretical and empirical terms, the nature of the relationships in advanced industrial economies between levels and changes in borrowing (debt), vulnerability to default in the non‐financial sector (financial fragility), and widespread instability in the financial sector (systemic risk). The work seeks to provide a survey and critical assessment of the current economic theory relating to debt and financial instability to offer empirical evidence casting light on the validity of the theories, and it suggests a number of policy implications and lines of further research. Unlike most extant texts on these matters, which generally relate to one country's experience, the book focuses on the way similar patterns are observable in several countries—but not in others—as well as in the international capital markets themselves. Particular attention is paid to the importance of the nature and evolution of financial structure to the genesis of instability. Whereas a structural approach is common in analysis of comparative behaviour of financial systems—notably in corporate finance—its application to instability is relatively rare. Given the international scope of the analysis, the work is germane to understanding the behaviour of financial systems in all capitalist economies, as well as in the international capital markets. However, it is of particular relevance to analysis of the US, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Italy, and Australia, whose recent experience is analysed in some detail.

Keywords: advanced industrial economies; asset prices; capital markets; debt; default; financial instability; financial institutions; financial structure; financial systems; systemic risk

Book.  404 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Financial Markets

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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Debt in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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Financial Fragility in the Corporate Sector in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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Financial Fragility in the Personal Sector in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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Economic Effects of Financial Fragility in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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The Economic Theory of Systemic Risk in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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Financial Instability 1966–1990 in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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Systemic Risk and Financial Market Structure in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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Ten Further Financial Crises in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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Experience of the Early 1990s in Debt, Financial Fragility, and Systemic Risk

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