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Finance

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Information Law and Policy in Capital Markets

Financial information is a both a public resource and a commodity that market participants produce and distribute in connection with other financial products and services. Legislators, regulators, and other policy makers must therefore balance the goal of making information transparent, accessible, and useful for the collective benefit of society against the need to maintain appropriate incentives for information originators and intermediaries. In Chasing the Tape, Onnig Dombalagian examines the policy objectives and regulatory tools that shape the information production chain in capital markets in the United States, the European Union, and other jurisdictions. His analysis offers a unique cross section of capital market infrastructure, spanning different countries, regulated entities, and financial instruments.

Dombalagian uses four key categories of information—issuer information, market information, information used in credit analysis, and benchmarks—to survey the market forces and regulatory regimes that govern the flow of information in capital markets. He considers the similarities and differences in regulatory aims and strategies across categories, and discusses alternative approaches proposed or adopted by scholars and policy makers. Dombalagian argues that the long-term regulatory challenges raised by economic globalization and advanced information technology will require policy makers to decouple information policy in capital markets from increasingly arbitrary historical classifications and jurisdictional boundaries.

An Emerging Paradigm

Financial crises have some common storylines, among them bursting asset bubbles, bank failures, sharp tightening of credit, and downturn in trade. They are also different from one another. Some start with sudden reversal of international capital flows, others with domestic credit implosions. A challenge to economic research is to integrate common as well as disparate threads into a coherent analytical framework that is at the same time empirically testable. In Understanding Global Crises, Assaf Razin offers a review of an emerging paradigm that is consistent with the key features of recent global financial crises. This paradigm presents in a transparent way basic analytical elements of the theories of financial and monetary crises and how these elements fit together in macroeconomic analysis of global crises.

Razin surveys the credit implosion that led to a severe banking crisis in Japan in the 1990s, the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997, the global meltdown of 2008, and the Euro-zone crisis. He reviews the analytics of financial fragilities, credit frictions, currency crises, and balance of payments crises, and addresses international capital flows with information frictions. He then presents key developments in the New Keynesian analytical framework by examining the surge of re-modeling efforts aimed at the development of an analytical framework to underpin monetary and fiscal policy in the post-2008 economic era.

The global financial crisis has prompted economists to rethink fundamental questions on how governments should intervene in the financial sector. Many countries have already begun to reform the taxation and regulation of the financial sector—in the United States, for example, the Dodd–Frank Act became law in 2010; in Europe, different countries have introduced additional taxes on the sector and made substantial progress toward a banking union for the eurozone. Only recently, however, has a new field in economics emerged to study the interplay between public finance and banking. This book offers the latest thinking on the topic by American and European economists.

The contributors first explore new conceptual ground, offering rigorous theoretical analyses that help us better understand how tax policy and regulation can contribute to avoiding another crisis or reducing its impact. Contributors then investigate the behavior of financial institutions in response to various forms of taxation and regulation, offering empirical evidence that is vital for policy design.

Contributors
Thiess Buettner, Jin Cao, Giuseppina Cannas, Gunther Capelle-Blancard, Jessica Cariboni, Brian Coulter, Ernesto Crivelli, Ruud de Mooij, Michael P. Devereux, Katharina Erbe, Ricardo Fenochietto, Marco Petracco Giudici, Timothy J. Goodspeed, Reint Gropp, Olena Havyrlchyk, Michael Keen, Lawrence L. Kreicher, Julia Lendvai, Ben Lockwood, Massimo Marchesi, Donato Masciandaro, Colin Mayer, Robert N. McCauley, Patrick McGuire, Gaëtan Nicodème, Masanori Orihara, Francesco Passarelli, Carola Pessino, Rafal Raciborski, John Vickers, Lukas Vogel, Stefano Zedda

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. This book, by an experienced advisor to institutional money managers, goes beyond conventional thinking to offer a new analytic framework that enables investors to improve their performance confidently, deliberately, and simply, by applying the principles of behavioral finance.

W. Edwards Deming observed that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Active portfolio management lacks methods for measuring key inputs to management success like skills, process, and behavioral tendencies. Michael Ervolini offers a conceptually straightforward and well-tested framework that does just that, with evidence of how it helps managers enhance self-awareness and become better investors. In a series of short, accessible chapters, Ervolini investigates a range of topics from psychology and neuroscience, describing their relevance to the challenges of portfolio management. Finally, Ervolini offers seven ideas for improving. These range from maintaining an investment diary to performing rudimentary calculations that quantify basic skills; each idea, or “project,” helps managers gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and shortcomings and how to use this knowledge to improve investment performance.

SEVEN IDEAS FOR IMPROVING PERFORMANCE

  • -Embracing the Scientific Method
  • -Maintaining a Diary
  • -Accounting for Skill
  • -Learning about Buying Skill
  • -Measuring Your Sell Effectiveness
  • -Calibrating Sizing
  • -Using Checklists
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. In this book, experts on Dodd–Frank and financial regulation—academics, regulators, and practitioners—discuss the ways that the law is likely to succeed and the ways it is likely to come up short.

Placing their discussion in the broader context of regulatory issues, the contributors consider banking reform; the regulation of derivatives; the Volcker Rule, and whether or not banks should be forced to stop proprietary trading; the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and possible flaws in its conception; the law and “too-big-to-fail” institutions; mortgage reform, including qualification requirements and securitization; and new disclosure requirements regarding CEO compensation and conflict minerals.

Contributors
James R. Barth, Jeff Bloch, Mark A. Calabria, Charles W. Calomiris, Shane Corwin, Cem Demiroglu, John Dearie, Amy K. Edwards, Raymond P. H. Fishe, Priyank Gandhi, Thomas M. Hoenig, Christopher M. James, Anil K Kashyap, Robert McDonald, James Overdahl, Craig Pirrong, Matthew Richardson, Paul H. Schultz, David Skeel, Chester Spatt, Anjan Thakor, John Walsh, Lawrence J. White, Arthur Wilmarth, Todd J. Zywicki

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. This book fills the gap, teaching users how to experiment with and implement innovative spreadsheet functionality and introducing two software platforms for doing so. Along the way, it draws on and illustrates software technologies and computer science topics that range from object-oriented programming to compiler technology.

Spreadsheet Implementation Technology surveys a wide range of information about spreadsheets drawn from user experience, the scientific literature, and patents. After summarizing the spreadsheet computation model and the most important challenges for efficient recalculation, the book describes Corecalc, a core implementation of essential spreadsheet functionality suitable for practical experiments, and Funcalc, an extension of Corecalc that allows users to define their own functions without extraneous programming languages or loss of efficiency. It also shows the advantages of automatic function specialization and offers a user’s manual for Funcalc. The Corecalc and Funcalc software is downloadable free of charge.

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

Lessons for Central Bankers

The recent financial crisis shook not only the global economy but also conventional wisdom about economic policy. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, policy makers reversed course and acted on an unprecedented scale. The policy response was remarkable both for its magnitude and for the variety of measures undertaken. This book examines both the major role central banks played in the crisis and the role they might play in preventing or preparing for future crises.

The contributors, central bankers from around the world, focus on monetary policy, the new area of macroprudential policy, and issues of exchange rates, capital flows, and banking and financial markets. They look at the experiences of both developed and emerging economies, considering why some, including Israel and Australia, suffered only mild effects while others--Ireland for example--plunged into severe financial crisis.

Making Regulators Work for Us

The recent financial crisis was an accident, a “perfect storm” fueled by an unforeseeable confluence of events that unfortunately combined to bring down the global financial systems. Or at least this is the story told and retold by a chorus of luminaries that includes Timothy Geithner, Henry Paulson, Robert Rubin, Ben Bernanke, and Alan Greenspan.

In Guardians of Finance, economists James Barth, Gerard Caprio, and Ross Levine argue that the financial meltdown of 2007 to 2009 was no accident; it was negligent homicide. They show that senior regulatory officials around the world knew or should have known that their policies were destabilizing the global financial system and yet chose not to act until the crisis had fully emerged.

Barth, Caprio, and Levine propose a reform to counter this systemic failure: the establishment of a “Sentinel” to provide an informed, expert, and independent assessment of financial regulation. Its sole power would be to demand information and to evaluate it from the perspective of the public--rather than that of the financial industry, the regulators, or politicians.

Options and Games

Corporate managers who face both strategic uncertainty and market uncertainty confront a classic trade-off between commitment and flexibility. They can stake a claim by making a large capital investment today, influencing their rivals’ behavior, or they can take a “wait and see” approach to avoid adverse market consequences tomorrow. In Competitive Strategy, Benoît Chevalier-Roignant and Lenos Trigeorgis describe an emerging paradigm that can quantify and balance commitment and flexibility, “option games,” by which the decision-making approaches of real options and game theory can be combined.

The authors first discuss prerequisite concepts and tools from basic game theory, industrial organization, and real options analysis, and then present the new approach in discrete time and later in continuous time. Their presentation of continuous-time option games is the first systematic coverage of the topic and fills a significant gap in the existing literature.

Competitive Strategy provides a rigorous yet pragmatic and intuitive approach to strategy formulation. It synthesizes research in the areas of strategy, economics, and finance in a way that is accessible to readers not necessarily expert in the various fields involved.

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