The importance of the financial system in economic development has been frequently neglected by analysts and poorly understood by policymakers. Are there policy reforms, or any particular sequence of reform measures, that will contribute to the successful functioning of the financial system and thus spur long-term economic growth? What kind of regulatory changes are appropriate as countries move toward financial liberalization and as government development banks decline in importance compared to private banks and nonbank financial institutions? What broad lessons can be discerned from the experience of financial reform in Asia and Latin America for the transitional countries of Russia and Eastern Europe? The world's financial system has been buffeted in recent years by the crisis in the U.S. savings and loan industry, the implosion of the Japanese ""bubble economy"" of the late 1980s, the Mexican peso crisis, and other events. The experience of Western nations in adapting to financial liberalization can provide useful insights for the many countries embarking on a course of market reforms and beginning to build the financial infrastructure for a market economy. This volume analyzes the recent financial reforms and reform strategies in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Russia. The chapters draw on the extensive practical experience of the authors and reflect the most recent empirical research in the field. The contributors are Gerald Caprio, Jr., Dimitri Vittas, and Ross Levine, the World Bank; David C. Cole and Betty F. Slade, Harvard Institute for International Development; Maxwell J. Fry, University of Birmingham at Edgbaston; Claudio Gonzalez-Vega, Ohio State University; Stephan Haggard, University of California, San Diego; R. Barry Johnston, International Monetary Fund; Philip A. Wellons, Harvard Law School; Lawrence J. White, New York University; and Alison Harwood.