Avinash Persaud, 07 October 2008

Subprime mortgages account for less than 1% of the world’s debt stock. How could they cause the greatest financial crisis in modern times? “Risk sensitivity” is this column’s answer. Regulators gave bankers incentives to combine bad loans with good ones and securitise the package in complex structures. The inseparability of the suspect parts meant problems with one package questioned the value of all packages. The least liquid banks failed, triggering a vicious cycle of fear and failure.

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.

Carmen Reinhart, 05 May 2010

This column, first posted 19 April 2008, argues that sovereign debt crises have historically followed financial crises. Although data covering only the last thirty years might have given few hints about Greece's current problems, the Reinhart-Rogoff database spanning eight centuries reveals that today's event are very much in line with historical experience.

Tommaso Monacelli, 20 March 2008

Inflation is rising. This column identifies three sources of inflation and argues that it is very important for central banks to tame inflation now, before we face a vicious cycle of rising inflation and expected inflation.

Guido Tabellini, 19 March 2008

The recent financial trouble has prompted much examination of private financial institutions, but few have asked why regulatory supervision did not prevent the crisis. This column argues that supervisory failure was also due to regulatory competition between national authorities and calls for a consolidated EU authority.

Richard Portes, 22 January 2008

Recent financial market troubles highlight a number of problems with the credit ratings agencies. This column argues only a few of the proposed policy solutions are likely to be both feasible and helpful.

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