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Purpose: The recurrence of banking crises throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and in the more recent 2008-09 global financial crisis, has led to an expanding empirical literature on crisis explanation and prediction. This paper provides an analytical review of proxies for and important determinants of banking crises − credit growth, financial liberalization, bank regulation and supervision.

Design/Methodology/Approach: The study surveys the banking crisis literature by comparing proxies for and measures of banking crises and policy-related variables in the literature. Advantages and disadvantages of different proxies are discussed.

Findings: Disagreements about determinants of banking crises are in part explained by the difference in the chosen proxies used in empirical models. The usefulness of different proxies depend partly on constraints in terms of time and country coverage but also on what particular policy question is asked.

Originality: The study offers a comprehensive analysis of measurements of banking crises, credit growth, financial liberalization and banking regulations and concludes with an assessment of existing proxies and databases. Since the review points to the choice of proxies that best fit specific research objectives, it should serve as a reference point for empirical researchers in the banking crisis area.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Financial Economic Policy, volume 3, issue 4, 2011 following peer review. This article may not exactly replicate the final published version.

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