Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, Christian Hilber, 18 March 2013

Zoning policies and land use regulations are widespread. This column presents recent research suggesting that regulations have in fact gone too far. Land use regulation is the outcome of competing property owner and land developer pressure groups, and it seems that local authorities respond well to lobbying, in addition to more traditional welfare and electoral considerations. The most over-restrictive regulation is in highly desirable places, New York and San Francisco being some of the worst offenders.

Takeo Hoshi, 23 December 2012

Rejigging financial regulation is in vogue. But, in the world of international finance, how well do different regulatory systems join up? This column argues that the US Dodd Frank Act and Basel III are, in part, incompatible and that harmonising them may lead to unintended consequences. The US ought to tread carefully here but should also try hard to maintain the spirit of better financial regulation.

Mattia Nardotto, Tommaso Valletti, Frank Verboven, 25 November 2012

In many countries, incumbent broadband providers are required to let new entrants access their network, what is called ‘local loop unbundling’ (LLU). This column uses data from the UK to ask whether such a policy stimulates broadband penetration. In contrast to what is commonly believed, local loop unbundling doesn’t provide more choice. However, it does raise both the quality of service and the speed of internet connections.

Joshua Aizenman, Ilan Noy, 21 November 2012

Are countries that have previously experienced banking crises less vulnerable to them in the future? This column argues that, in fact, previous crises might make future crises more likely. There isn’t much evidence of a learning process from past mistakes because the regulator often lags behind banking’s pace of innovation. Preparing to prevent the last crisis does not prevent the next and it seems that the ‘too big to fail’ doctrine provides cover for banks, delaying the day of adjustment.

Lucia Dalla Pellegrina, Donato Masciandaro, 17 November 2011

Following the crisis of 2008–09 a period of banking-sector vulnerability occurred in many countries. To what extent did this vulnerability result from light-touch banking regulation? This column examines the ‘unpleasant nexus’ between volatility and light-touch regulation and argues that the crisis proved that such regulation may not be able to reduce systemic risk to acceptable levels.

Wouter den Haan, 04 November 2011

Wouter den Haan of the London School of Economics talks to Viv Davies about his lead commentary in the current Vox Debate on the value of the financial sector. He argues that standard measures of the sector's economic contribution overestimate its true value to a modern economy. They also discuss the views of other notable economists, as well as how regulation could curb excesses in the sector and prevent socially negative spillovers. The interview was recorded in London on 1 November 2011. [Also read the transcript]

Wouter den Haan, 24 October 2011

This column launches a new Vox Debate titled “Why do we need a financial sector and how much should we pay for it”. The column argues standard measures of the financial sector’s economic contribution overestimate its true value to a modern economy. As such, regulation that makes it more difficult for the sector to perform some activities is not necessarily a bad thing.

Kym Anderson, Markus Brückner, 07 October 2011

Real income in sub-Saharan Africa has grown by less than 1% per year over the past half century. Yet within this dismal statistic, there is wide variation. This column explores the policy reforms that may have caused growth to flourish or stagnate.

Joan Costa-Font, Nebibe Varol, Alistair McGuire, 08 July 2011

Pharmaceutical price regulations make drugs more accessible to consumers – if the products are brought to market. This column explores how price regulation affects the diffusion of pharmaceutical treatments. It finds that more regulated, lower-price markets experience the longest delays in launching new medications.

Carmine Guerriero, 21 November 2010

When is regulation more efficient than competition? This column provides a theoretical framework for thinking about these issues and explores its implications using electricity data from the US. It argues regulation can be more efficient than competition when investment inducement is salient, and that deregulation can be inefficiently implemented when consumer groups are too politically powerful.

Mike Young, 22 January 2010

Mike Young, executive director of the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about how Australia has responded to the big shock to its water supply – through new regulations, through technological solutions, through public education and through the introduction of market mechanisms. The interview was recorded at the Global Economic Symposium in Schleswig-Holstein in September 2009.

Charles Goodhart, Dimitri Tsomocos, 12 November 2009

Liquidity and default are inseparable. Liquidity problems fuel defaults and vice versa. This column discusses the shortcomings of current regulatory proposals to address liquidity and default. It says that regulators must address “systemic markets”, not just systemic institutions, and need informative measures of financial stability.

Harry Huizinga, Luc Laeven, 07 October 2009

The financial crisis has reinvigorated a debate on the effectiveness of our accounting and regulatory frameworks. This column shows that banks, hoping to preserve their book capital, use accounting discretion to systematically understate the impairment of their real-estate-related assets. But the accounting reforms announced thus far are exacerbating the gap between book and market values.

Axel Weber, 02 October 2009

Axel Weber, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the need to rebalance between risk-taking and regulation in financial markets. They discuss the opportunity for central bankers and other G20 players to design and implement new regulation, and the likely future size of the financial sector in the overall economy. The interview was recorded at the Global Economic Symposium in Schleswig-Holstein in September 2009.

Viral Acharya, 04 September 2009

Financial institutions enjoy a large number of government guarantees. This column says that we ought to be charging banks for such subsidies and doing so in a way that promotes financial stability. It uses the example of demand deposit insurance in the US to explore the poor design of funding for such guarantees.

Marc Flandreau, Norbert Gaillard, 26 June 2009

How did the rating agencies come to have such a prominent role in the regulation of securities? This column traces their history back to the Great Depression. Ironically, the agencies became a regulatory instrument to address concerns about securities originators’ conflicts of interest, the very problem plaguing the agencies today. The lesson may be that no fixed regulatory solution is durable in the long run.

Giuseppe Bertola, 26 May 2009

In Europe, unemployment is increasing more rapidly than in earlier comparable crises. This column attributes that to the severity of the recession and the flexibility-oriented reforms that only recently brought European unemployment down. But that does not mean that the answer is re-regulation of labour markets.

Jon Danielsson, Hyun Song Shin, Jean-Pierre Zigrand, 11 March 2009

By incorporating endogenous risk into a standard asset-pricing model, this column shows how banks’ capacity to bear risk seemingly evaporates in the face of market turmoil, pushing the financial system further into a tailspin. It suggests that risk-sensitive prudential regulation, in the spirit of Basel II, makes systemic financial crises sharper, larger, and more costly.


The MSc in Competition and Market Regulation provides participants with a rigorous training in competition policy and regulatory issues. A full understanding of how markets work and how they are regulated will be acquired through an in-depth analysis of the functioning of legal and economic institutions and an empirical preparation. Competition policy cases and regulation policy in specific sectors, such as telecommunications, energy, transportation and financial markets will be covered. For more information, please visit

Axel Leijonhufvud, 13 January 2009

Following the analysis of the crisis’s causes in the yesterday’s column, this column suggests that the new financial regulatory system should impose effective reserve requirements on deposit-taking banks, and impose capital requirements for virtually all financial institutions with these requirements being counter-cyclical to dampen the boom-bust cycle.



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