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.

Thorsten Beck, Diane Coyle, Mathias Dewatripont, Xavier Freixas, Paul Seabright, 18 February 2010

This new CEPR report focuses on two specific aspects of the policy response to the crisis: financial regulation and competition policy.

Thorsten Beck, Mathias Dewatripont, Xavier Freixas, Paul Seabright, Diane Coyle, 18 February 2010

Billions have been spent saving European banks. Should these bailouts be subject to the usual competition rules or should stability be allowed to trump ‘business as usual’? This column introduces a new CEPR report “Bailing out the Banks: Reconciling Stability and Competition” that argues for a more subtle reaction. Competition policy is critical even in crises but the rules applied must recognise the special features that mark a crisis-struck banking sector.

Charles Goodhart, Dimitri Tsomocos, Udara Peiris, Alexandros Vardoulakis, 18 February 2010

The global financial crisis has led many to propose regulatory measures that will reduce the idiosyncratic and systemic risk of banks. This column argues in favour of the suggestion by the Bank for International Settlements to block banks from paying dividends to shareholders or bonuses if their capital levels fall below a minimum threshold.

Avinash Persaud, 10 February 2010

Policymakers and commentators have recently argued for downsizing banks that are “too big to fail.” This column argues that the logic is based on an illusion. A 2006 list of institutions considered “too big to fail” would not have included Northern Rock, Bear Sterns, or even Lehman Brothers. Instead, regulators should aim to make the financial system less sensitive to error in the markets’ estimate of risk.

Marco Pagano, Alessandro Beber, 06 February 2010

Did the bans on short selling achieve their stated purpose of restoring order to the stock market and limiting unwarranted drops in prices? This column presents new evidence from 30 countries arguing that the effect on stock prices was at best neutral, the impact on market liquidity was clearly detrimental – especially for small-cap and high-risk stocks, and that the ban slowed down price discovery.



CEPR Policy Research