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Michael Haliassos

Michael Haliassos is Professor and Chair of Macroeconomics and Finance at Goethe University Frankfurt, Director of the Center for Financial Studies and of the Center of Excellence SAFE, and Research Fellow at the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). He is a coeditor of Household Portfolios (MIT Press) and Stockholding in Europe.

Titles by This Editor

Too Much or Too Little?

In assigning blame for the recent economic crisis, many have pointed to the proliferation of new, complex financial products--mortgage securitization in particular--as being at the heart of the meltdown. The prominent economists from academia, policy institutions, and financial practice who contribute to this book, however, take a more nuanced view of financial innovation. They argue that it was not too much innovation but too little innovation--and the lack of balance between debt-related products and asset-related products--that lies behind the crisis. Prevention of future financial crises, then, will be aided by a regulatory and legal framework that fosters the informed use of financial innovation and its positive effects on the economy rather than quashing innovation entirely.

The book, which includes two contributions from 2013 Nobe Laureate Robert Shiller as well as a discussion of Shiller’s “MacroMarkets” tool, considers the key ingredients of financial innovation from both academia and industry; and how future innovation-lined crises might be avoided.

Contributors
Josef Ackermann, Nicholas C. Barberis, John Y. Campbell, Karl E. Case, Robin Greenwood, Michael Haliassos, Otmar Issing, Alexander Popov, Robert J. Shiller, Andrei Shleifer, Frank R. Smets, Susan J. Smith, Maria Vassalou, Luis M. Viceira

Until recently, researchers in economics and finance paid relatively little attention to household portfolios. Reasons included the tendency of most households to hold simple portfolios, the inability of the dominant asset pricing models to account for household portfolio incompleteness, and the lack of detailed databases on household portfolios in many countries until the late 1980s or 1990s. Now, however, the analysis of household portfolios is emerging as a field of vigorous study.

The eleven chapters in this collection provide an overview of current theoretical knowledge about the structure of household portfolios and compare predictions with empirical findings. The book describes the state-of-the-art tools of analytical, computational, and econometric investigation, as well as some of the key policy questions. It provides an original comparative analysis of household portfolios in countries for which detailed household-level data are available (the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands). Finally, it uses microdata for an in-depth study of the portfolio composition of population groups of special policy interest, such as the young, the elderly, and the rich.