Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Gerald Epstein

Second Advisor

Peter Skott

Third Advisor

James Crotty

Subject Categories



The phenomenal financial expansion of the last decades has been characterised by an exacerbation of systemic instability and an increase in the frequency of financial crises, culminating in the recent meltdown in the US financial sector. The literature on financial crises has developed concomitantly, but despite a large number of papers written on this subject, economists are still struggling to understand the underlying determinants of these phenomena. In this dissertation, I argue that one of the reasons for this apparent failure is the way agents, as well as the environment in which they evolve, are modelled in this literature. After reviewing the existing literature on international financial crises, I outline an alternative framework, drawing from Post-Keynesian and Behavioural insights. In this framework, international financial crises are seen as being a direct consequence of the way agents formulate expectations in an environment of fundamental uncertainty and the investment and financial decisions they subsequently take. I argue that the psychological heuristics agents use in formulating expectations under fundamental uncertainty can lead to decisions which fragilise the economy and can thus be conducive to financial crises. I then apply this framework to the study of the 2000-2001 financial crisis in Turkey, which is notorious for not lending itself easily to explanations based on the existing theoretical literature on international financial crises. After outlining the crisis and reviewing the main existing accounts, I identify two moments prior to the crisis: A phase of increasing financial fragility, lasting from a previous crisis in 1994 to 1999, and a financial bubble in 2000 during the implementation of an IMF stabilisation program, partly predicated on the previous increase in financial fragility. My framework can account for both periods; it fits particularly well the first one and enhances the explanatory content of existing stories about the events that took place in 2000.


Included in

Economics Commons