The goal of this volume is to bring a more broad-based empirical experience than has been customary to the theoretical debate on how financial systems should be managed. This is achieved t only with cross-country ecomic studies, but also with an account of carefully chosen and widely contrasting country cases, drawn from Europe, Latin America, Africa, East and South Asia and the former Soviet Union. The widespread financial crises of recent years have all too dramatically illustrated the shortcomings of financial policy under liberalization. The complexity of the issues mocks any idea that a standard liberalization template will be universally effective. The evidence here described confirms that policy recommendations need to take careful account of country conditions. The volume is the outcome of a research project sponsored by the World Bank's Development Ecomics Research Group.