After the crisis in emerging market economies in the mid-late 1990s, the adoption of internationally recognised standards, or codes of good practice, was seen as a way to help strengthen the international financial system. In April 1999, the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) was established and a set of standards and codes were defined at an international level. Although this initiative brings many benefits in terms of improved transparency, it is not unproblematic and uncontroversial, especially from the point of view of developing countries. Issues include the provenance and ownership of the codes, the cost of monitoring and the balance between external review and self-assessment. There is also an important issue as to whether the initiative actually works: in other words, the impact of standards and codes on market access and market stability. This volume brings together policy-makers from a wide range of governments, central banks and international organisations and economists from research institutes, universities and non-governmental organizations. It critically examines whether the standards and codes exercise can make a meaningful contribution to global financial stability and takes the first steps in answering some of the open questions in the field.

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