The global economic crisis of 2008–2009 seemed a crisis not just of economic performance but also of the system's underlying political ideology and economic theory. But a second Great Depression was averted, and the radical shift to New Deal-like economic policies predicted by some never took place. Perhaps the correct response to the crisis is simply careful management of the macroeconomic challenges as we recover, combined with reform of financial regulation to prevent a recurrence.
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.
The market for U.S. Treasury securities is a marvel of modern finance. In 2009 the Treasury auctioned $8.2 trillion of new securities, ranging from 4-day bills to 30-year bonds, in 283 offerings on 171 different days. By contrast, in the decade before World War I, there was only about $1 billion of interest-bearing Treasury debt outstanding, spread out over just six issues. New offerings were rare, and the debt was narrowly held, most of it owned by national banks.
Government regulation is ubiquitous today in rich and middle-income countries--present in areas that range from workplace conditions to food processing to school curricula--although standard economic theories predict that it should be rather uncommon. In this book, Andrei Shleifer argues that the ubiquity of regulation can be explained not so much by the failure of markets as by the failure of courts to solve contract and tort disputes cheaply, predictably, and impartially. When courts are expensive, unpredictable, and biased, the public will seek alternatives to dispute resolution.
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.
Blame for the recent financial crisis and subsequent recession has commonly been assigned to everyone from Wall Street firms to individual homeowners. It has been widely argued that the crisis and recession were caused by “greed” and the failure of mainstream economics. In Getting It Wrong, leading economist William Barnett argues instead that there was too little use of the relevant economics, especially from the literature on economic measurement.
The European Union began with efforts in the Cold War era to foster economic integration among a few Western European countries. Today’s EU constitutes an upper tier of government that affects almost every level of policymaking in each of its twenty-seven member states. The recent financial and economic crises have tested this still-evolving institutional framework, and this book surveys key economic challenges faced by the EU.
As members of the baby boom generation head into retirement, they face an economic environment that has changed noticeably since their parents retired. Most of these new retirees will not be equipped, as many in the earlier generation were, with private pension plans, early retirement options, and fully paid retiree health benefits in addition to Social Security and Medicare. Today it is increasingly left to retirees themselves to plan how to maximize retirement income and minimize risk.
In Money, Payments, and Liquidity, Ed Nosal and Guillaume Rocheteau provide a comprehensive investigation into the economics of money and payments by explicitly modeling trading frictions between agents. Adopting the search-theoretic approach pioneered by Nobuhiro Kiyotaki and Randall Wright, Nosal and Rocheteau provide a logically coherent dynamic framework to examine the frictions in the economy that make money and liquid assets play a useful role in trade.
The financial crisis of 2008 raised crucial questions regarding the effectiveness of the way the United States regulates financial markets. What caused the crisis? What regulatory changes are most needed and desirable? What regulatory structure will best implement the desired changes? This volume addresses those questions with contributions from an ideologically diverse group of scholars, policy makers, and practitioners, including Paul Volcker, John Taylor, Richard Posner, and R. Glenn Hubbard.