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Taking Stock of the Financial Sector Policy Response to COVID-19 around the World

Erik H.B. Feyen, Tatiana Alonso Gispert, Tatsiana Kliatskova and Davide Salvatore Mare ()

No 9497, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: This paper introduces a new global database and a policy classification framework that records the financial sector policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic across 154 jurisdictions. It documents that authorities around the world have taken a diverse array of measures to mitigate financial distress in markets and for borrowers, and to support the provision of critical financial services to the real economy. Measures that focus on the banking sector constitute the majority of policies taken and aim to take advantage of the flexibility embedded in the international standards. However, emerging markets and developing economies tend to rely more on prudential measures that go beyond this embedded flexibility compared with advanced economies, which may reduce bank balance sheet transparency and increase risks. Using Cox proportional hazards and Poisson regressions, the paper takes initial steps to analyze the determinants of policy makers’ responsiveness and activity in emerging markets and developing economies, respectively. The results indicate that policy makers have typically been significantly more responsive and have taken more policy measures in emerging markets and developing economies that are richer and more populous. Countries with higher private debt levels tend to respond earlier with banking sector and liquidity and funding measures. The spread of COVID-19, macro-financial fundamentals, and fiscal and containment policies appear to play a limited role. In a substantially smaller sample, the paper explores the role of banking characteristics and finds that emerging markets and developing economies with higher private credit levels and that have adopted Basel III features have taken fewer policy measures. Future work is necessary for better understanding the country determinants of the policy response as well as the effectiveness and potential unintended consequences of the measures.

Keywords: Financial Sector Policy; Health Care Services Industry; Public Health Promotion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-12-14
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