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Global shocks, economic growth and financial crises - 120 years of New Zealand experience

Michael D. Bordo, David Hargreaves, Mizuho Kida

We identify the timing of currency, banking crises and sudden stops in New Zealand from 1880 to 2008 using methodologies from the international literature and consider the extent to which the empirical models in that literature can explain New Zealand’s crisis history. We find that the cross country evidence on the determinants of crises fits New Zealand experience reasonably well. A number of the risk factors that correlate with crises internationally – such as domestic imbalances, external debt, and currency mismatches – were elevated for New Zealand when the country had more frequent crises and have improved in the recent (more stable) period. However, a time-series analysis of New Zealand growth over 120 years shows that global factors – such as the US growth rate and terms of trade – explain New Zealand growth fairly well, and that crisis dummy variables do not have significant additional explanatory power. This suggests that having sound institutions and policies may help avoid severe domestic crises, but will not be sufficient to avoid the domestic economic impact of the global business cycle.
Bordo, Michael, David Hargreaves and Mizuho Kida (2011). ‘Global shocks, economic growth and financial crises: 120 years of New Zealand experience’, Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, Volume 18(3), Pages 331-355, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0968565011000199.