Avinash Persaud, 27 September 2008

This column suggests that TARP is the wrong solution, but it might buy time to develop a better plan. Such a plan could involve a private debt-for-equity swap with the government co-investing in the equity. This would put tax payers in hock for something like $70bn rather than $700bn. Managers and shareholders would take the biggest hit, but bond holders would share the pain.

Daniel Gros, 27 September 2008

How much are the toxic assets worth? A bit of logic and a straightforward application of the Black-Scholes formula suggests that if current expectations of house price declines are right, securities built on subprime mortgages might be close to worthless. The key is that US mortgages are ‘no recourse’ loans, i.e. debtors can walk away from the mortgage without being held personally liable, a feature that gives homeowners a virtual put option.

Luigi Spaventa, 26 September 2008

Bernanke and Paulson's Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) is not perfect, but it is a good start. Both aspects of the problem – assets’ illiquidity and shortage of capital – should be addressed in sequence. By removing troubled assets from the banks’ books, TARP would remove uncertainty. This will encourage private injections of capital and provide better information for public intervention if they prove necessary.

Willem Buiter, 25 September 2008

The Paulson Plan addresses market illiquidity for toxic assets but the real problem is a lack of bank capital and the risk of widespread insolvency. Fixing this requires a government injection of new bank capital or a forced conversion of bank debt into equity. This column argues against the former as it would further socialise the US financial system. The Package needs some work, but Congress must stop its infantile posturing and act soon.

Jeffrey Frankel, 23 September 2008

Here one of the world’s leading international economists, a former member of Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, comments on the growing consensus that the Paulson Plan has got the wrong end of the stick.

Barry Eichengreen, 23 September 2008

The crisis solution depends upon its causes. Here one of the world’s leading international macroeconomists explains how the world got into this mess. This is the ‘Director’s cut’ of his 18 September 2008 column on Project Syndicate.

Charles Calomiris, 22 September 2008

This column, posted 19 September on an FT forum, suggests a better way of ending the financial crisis. Instead of buying toxic assets, the US government should buy preferred stock capital in ailing banks that could raise matching private sector equity. This would avoid the intractable problems of how the government should value the toxic assets and directly address the banks' immediate problem – a lack of bank capital.

Charles Wyplosz, 22 September 2008

The world’s bankers created a reckless mix of lending and securitisation that exploded in their faces last year; they’ve stonewalled since. It would be criminal to bail them out, but spilling blood for its own sake is foolish. Here one of the world’s leading macroeconomists explains how the ‘Paulson Package’, history’s largest bet, might work and might not cost taxpayers too much. It’s too early to know which label to apply: “bailout” or “shrewd cleansing operation”.

Luigi Zingales, 21 September 2008

This weekend’s decisions will shape the type of capitalism we live with for the next fifty years. Here one of the world’s leading financial scholars, Chicago Business School Professor Luigi Zingales, argues that bailing out the financial system with taxpayers’ money is wrong. He discusses an alternative – forced debt-for-equity swap or debt-forgiveness.

Daniel Gros, Stefano Micossi, 20 September 2008

The radical moves in the US have direct implications for European banks and indirect implications for European governments. This column discusses the likely channels and notes that several European banks are both too big to fail and may be too big to be saved by their national governments alone.

Brenda González-Hermosillo, Heiko Hesse, Nathaniel Frank, 13 September 2008

The recent credit crisis started as a credit shock and then rapidly promulgated in the form of market and funding illiquidity before inducing solvency problems at some financial institutions. This column presents empirical evidence mapping the transmission channels of the crisis.

Barry Eichengreen, 30 August 2008

Policy makers must learn from history, but they should know which historical episodes to look to. Central bankers seem to have been focusing on the 1930s, but here one of the world’s leading macroeconomists suggests that the 1970s provides more appropriate lessons.

Charles Calomiris, 22 August 2008

The subprime crisis is the joint product of perverse incentives and historical flukes. This column explains why market actors made unrealistic assumptions about mortgage-backed securities and how various regulatory policies exacerbated the problem. The crisis will necessitate changes in monetary policy, regulation, and the structure of financial intermediation.

Marco Onado, 19 August 2008

Many banks are raising fresh capital but not as fast as they are reporting fresh write-downs. Unless regulators push banks to rebuild their equity bases more quickly, the crisis will be more painful and protracted than necessary. Merrill Lynch is a salutary example.

The Editors, 18 August 2008

Edited by Andrew Felton and Carmen Reinhart, this freely downloadable book brings together columns that provide invaluable insights into the crisis from the world’s leading experts.

Carmen Reinhart, 25 July 2008

Carmen Reinhart, in work with Kenneth Rogoff, has developed a comprehensive new database spanning eight centuries for studying debt and banking crises, inflation, currency crashes and debasements. She talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the lessons for today’s global financial crisis, noting that although we may not have seen explicit sovereign debt defaults for a while, a growing number of emerging markets are now defaulting through inflation.

Charles Wyplosz, 20 July 2008

Should taxpayers bail out the banking system? One of the world’s leading international macroeconomists contrasts the Larry Summers “don’t-scare-off-the-investors” pro-bailout view with the Willem Buiter “they-ran-into-a wall-with-eyes-wide-open” anti-bailout view. He concludes that either way, taxpayers are always the losers. The best policy makers can do is to be merciless with shareholders and gentle with bank customers.

Willem Buiter, 18 July 2008

Willem Buiter talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the financial crisis, the global cyclical slowdown and the rise of inflation. He discusses central banks’ responses to the credit crunch and calls on them to tighten monetary policy to counter the inflationary threat.

Guillermo de la Dehesa, 16 July 2008

The current credit crisis should be both a squeeze and a crunch, but it seems to have been neither in the euro area. This column explains why credit may become costlier or scarcer under current conditions and explores how European financial entities seem to be defying the negative news.

Carmen Reinhart, 07 July 2008

Carmen Reinhart talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about Vox's first book, which brings together key columns on subprime and the continuing turmoil in financial markets. She recalls Charles Kindleberger, who characterised financial crises as 'a hardy perennial'.

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