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Finance

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A Behavioral Approach to Improving Skills and Investment Processes

Portfolio management is a tough business. Each day, managers face the challenges of an ever-changing and unforgiving market, where strategies and processes that worked yesterday may not work today, or tomorrow. The usual advice for improving portfolio performance—refining your strategy, staying within your style, doing better research, trading more efficiently—is important, but doesn’t seem to affect outcomes sufficiently.

Edited by Paul H. Schultz

The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress in 2010 largely in response to the financial crisis, created the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; among other provisions, it limits proprietary trading by banks, changes the way swaps are traded, and curtails the use of credit ratings. The effects of Dodd–Frank remain a matter for speculation; more than half of the regulatory rulemaking called for in the bill has yet to be completed.

Basics and Extensions

Spreadsheets are used daily by millions of people for tasks that range from organizing a list of addresses to carrying out complex economic simulations. Spreadsheet programs are easy to learn and convenient to use because they have a clear visual model and a simple efficient underlying computational model. Yet although the basic spreadsheet model could be extended, improved, or otherwise experimented with in many ways, there is no coherently designed, reasonably efficient open source spreadsheet implementation that is a suitable platform for such experiments.

A New Foundation for Economics

With the advent of the 2007–2008 financial crisis, the economics profession itself entered into a crisis of legitimacy from which it has yet to emerge. Despite the obviousness of their failures, however, economists continue to rely on the same methods and to proceed from the same underlying assumptions. André Orléan challenges the neoclassical paradigm in this book, with a new way of thinking about perhaps its most fundamental concept, economic value.

Lawyers, Accountants, and the Tax Shelter Industry

For ten boom-powered years at the turn of the twenty-first century, some of America’s most prominent law and accounting firms created and marketed products that enabled the very rich—including newly minted dot-com millionaires—to avoid paying their fair share of taxes by claiming benefits not recognized by law. These abusive domestic tax shelters bore such exotic names as BOSS, BLIPS, and COBRA and were developed by such prestigious firms as KPMG and Ernst & Young. They brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in fees from clients and bilked the U.S.

Financial Modeling is now the standard text for explaining the implementation of financial models in Excel. This long-awaited fourth edition maintains the “cookbook” features and Excel dependence that have made the previous editions so popular. As in previous editions, basic and advanced models in the areas of corporate finance, portfolio management, options, and bonds are explained with detailed Excel spreadsheets.

This book provides an innovative, integrated, and methodical approach to understanding complex financial models, integrating topics usually presented separately into a comprehensive whole. The book brings together financial models and high-level mathematics, reviewing the mathematical background necessary for understanding these models organically and in context. It begins with underlying assumptions and progresses logically through increasingly complex models to operative conclusions.

Despite its theoretical elegance, the standard optimal tax model has significant limitations. In this book, Joel Slemrod and Christian Gillitzer argue that tax analysis must move beyond the emphasis on optimal tax rates and bases to consider such aspects of taxation as administration, compliance, and remittance.

One lens through which to view global economic interdependence and the spillover of shocks is that of decoupling (and then recoupling). Decoupling between developed and developing countries can be seen in the strong economic performance of China and India relative to that of the United States and Europe in the early 2000s. Recoupling then took place as developing countries sank along with the developed world during the deepening financial crisis of 2008.

Financial Markets and Elections in Emerging Countries

Politics matter for financial markets and financial markets matter for politics, and nowhere is this relationship more apparent than in emerging markets. In Banking on Democracy, Javier Santiso investigates the links between politics and finance in countries that have recently experienced both economic and democratic transitions. He focuses on elections, investigating whether there is a “democratic premium”—whether financial markets and investors tend to react positively to elections in emerging markets.

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