DP9993 | What Happened in Cyprus?

Publication Date

25/05/2014

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Abstract

This is a case study of how a country nearly reached bankruptcy in March 2013, within five years from entering the Eurozone. The magnitude of the requested assistance is extremely large relative to GDP (100%) and studying this event provides useful lessons for avoiding such crises in the future. The crisis resulted from a worsening European economic environment (especially in Greece), bad choices with regards to public finances, weak corporate governance within the local banking sector, inadequate and/or difficult regulation of cross-border banking, worsening competitiveness, and bad political decisions at the European and, especially, the local (Cypriot) level. Local politics, reflected in short term political calculations and/or inadequate understanding of the magnitude of the crisis, delayed corrective action for 18 months until election time, making a bad situation almost impossible to deal with. Overconfidence can be one behavioural explanation for why local politicians ignored the dramatic costs of inaction.