Charles Goodhart, 10 June 2010

As a consensus among academics begins to emerge over counter-cyclical financial regulation, former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Charles A E Goodhart outlines why he is sceptical about “conditional convertibles” or CoCos – a form of debt that is “quasi-automatically” transformed into equity when banks get into trouble. Goodhart argues that CoCos would make the system more complex, potentially leading to problematic market dynamics.

Thorsten Beck, Thomas Losse-Müller, 31 May 2010

The global crisis has exposed the frailty of financial sectors the world over and highlighted the need for regulatory reform. This column argues that taxing banks is no panacea. The only way to achieve financial stability and financial integration in Europe is to move towards a European-level bank resolution framework that has both funding and intervention authority.

Ross Levine, 25 May 2010

Many policymakers stress that the global crisis was caused by a series of unforeseen events and “suicidal” behaviour by market players. This column argues that this is a self-serving narrative. Policymakers designed, implemented, and maintained policies that destabilised the financial system in the decade leading up to 2006 – and were fully aware they were doing so. It is a case of “negligent homicide”.

Johan Mathisen, Srobona Mitra, 25 May 2010

In contrast to much of the emerging world, capital inflows to emerging Europe continue to be weak and mixed. How should the region ensure a healthy level of foreign investment while preventing excessive capital inflows and improving the stability of the financial sector? This column argues a comprehensive policy response is needed and recommendations should be tailored to country-specific circumstances.

Giorgio Barba Navaretti, Alberto Pozzolo, Giacomo Calzolari, Micol Levi, 23 May 2010

Many commentators have called for regulation to prevent banks from becoming “too big to fail”. This column adds a cautionary note. A world with only small and domestic banks is no safer. The key benefit of multinational banks – being able to mobilise funds across countries – could still be extremely useful for maintaining stability in times of distress.

Venkatachalam Shunmugam, 18 May 2010

Over-the-counter markets for derivatives have been a subject of blame for the global crisis. This column argues that the rising opacity and barriers to entry in these markets have been sorely overlooked leading to dark pools, flash trading, and front-running. These unfair practises can – at any time – cripple markets. They undermine the premise of free markets and should be stopped.

Dayanand Arora, Francis Rathinam, 11 May 2010

Over-the-counter derivatives were heavily involved in the spread of the global crisis. This column analyses the regulatory framework for such derivatives in India. It argues that moves to tighten the regulatory rope are unnecessary and that a shift to exchange-traded markets may not bring the desired results. Instead, policymakers should strive towards increased disclosure, more transparency, and more standardisation.

Enrico Perotti, 09 May 2010

The recent IMF report to the G20 states that fiscal reforms are essential to recover the costs of the crisis, as well as to contain future risk creation. This column argues that progress on controlling future risk requires a direct tax on systemic risk. This would restore confidence in the ability of policymakers to act preventively in future.

John Van Reenen, 04 May 2010

How can financial regulation be fixed to avoid another global crisis? This column argues that the “heads, I win; tails, society loses” moral hazard in the financial sector has to stop. To do this, policymakers must make bankruptcy credible. If a company has too much debt and becomes insolvent, it should suspend payments and its shareholders and creditors should lose their money.

José-Luis Peydró, Rajkamal Iyer, 25 April 2010

How important are financial linkages in transmitting shocks across the financial system? This column examines evidence from India and finds that if a bank has a high level of exposure to another failing bank, the probability that there will be a run on the bank increases by 34 percentage points. This effect is even stronger when the financial system is weak.

Reint Gropp, Christian Gründl, Andre Güttler, 20 April 2010

Public guarantees in the wake of the global crisis have been wide-spread. This column presents recent research on the effects of a 2001 law to remove government guarantees for German banks. It finds that such guarantees were associated with significant moral hazards and removing them reduced the risk taking of banks, their average loan size and their overall lending volumes.

Harald Hau, 17 April 2010

What good can come from the global crisis? This column argues that a major cause of the crisis was the lack of exchange trading for derivatives, which prevented market prices from signalling their inherent risk – more "missing market" than "market failure". The use of exchange trading for Greek sovereign debt, for example, marks a new and improved era in modern finance.

Bruno Biais, Jean-Charles Rochet, Paul Woolley, 25 March 2010

How does economic theory need to adjust in light of the global financial crisis? This column presents a new insight on how innovation leads to rent capture, which in turn is a sign of a potential crisis. This stems from asymmetric information in the financial sector. To avoid a repeat of the crisis, policymakers need to increase transparency.

Gilles Saint-Paul, Giancarlo Corsetti, John Hassler, Luigi Guiso, Hans-Werner Sinn, Jan-Egbert Sturm, Xavier Vives, Michael Devereux, 21 March 2010

Public distrust of bankers and financial markets has risen dramatically with the financial crisis. This column argues that this loss of trust in the financial system played a critical role in the collapse of economic activity that followed. To undo the damage, financial regulation needs to focus on restoring that trust.

Stefano Micossi, 16 March 2010

Policymakers and commentators have suggested that large banks should be broken up. This column argues that such an idea risks the very existence of a global financial system. It outlines an alternative framework in which deposit insurance should be covered by banks not taxpayers, banks should not be guaranteed a bailout, and regulators should be mandated to step in when the warning signs begin.

Claudio Raddatz, 15 March 2010

How did a seemingly small shock to the US financial markets manage to spread so far, so quickly? This column argues that the heavy reliance on short-term wholesale funding is to blame. It follows that the discussions of regulatory reform should focus on the risks associated with the liability structure of banks.

Hans-Werner Sinn, 04 March 2010

A return of the Glass-Steagall Act has been suggested by US policymakers and commentators as a way to reduce risk in financial markets. This column argues that the legacy of separate commercial and investment banks actually made the crisis worse. Europe should not follow these proposals but should instead concentrate on strengthening the capital reserves of its banks.

Simon Johnson, Peter Boone, 22 February 2010

Over the last 30 years, the US financial system has grown to proportions threatening the global economic order. This column suggests a ‘doomsday cycle’ has infiltrated the economic system and could lead to disaster after the next financial crisis. It says the best route to creating a safer system is to have very large and robust capital requirements, which are legislated and difficult to circumvent or revise.

Panicos Demetriades, Svetlana Andrianova, Anja Shortland, 20 January 2010

The nationalisation of banks as a result of the global economic crisis has been a source of controversy. This column argues that governments should not feel pressured to re-privatise the banks. Once the black sheep of high finance, government owned banks can reassure depositors about the safety of their savings and can help maintain a focus on productive investment in a world in which effective financial regulation remains more of an aspiration than a reality.

Paul Seabright, 19 February 2010

Paul Seabright of the Toulouse School of Economics talks to Viv Davies about a new CEPR report, Bailing out the Banks, which analyses state-supported schemes for financial institutions in the current crisis and the need to reconcile the potentially conflicting policy goals of financial stability and competition in the banking industry. The interview was recorded in London in February 2010.

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