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Xavier Freixas

Xavier Freixas is Professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and Barcelona Graduate School of Economics and coauthor of Microeconomics of Banking (MIT Press).

Titles by This Author

The recent financial crisis has shattered all standard approaches to banking regulation. Regulators now recognize that banking regulation cannot be simply based on individual financial institutions’ risks. Instead, systemic risk and macroprudential regulation have come to the forefront of the new regulatory paradigm. Yet our knowledge of these two core aspects of regulation is still limited and fragmented. This book offers a framework for understanding the reasons for the regulatory shift from a microprudential to a macroprudential approach to financial regulation.

Over the last thirty years, a new paradigm in banking theory has overturned economists’ traditional vision of the banking sector. The asymmetric information model, extremely powerful in many areas of economic theory, has proven useful in banking theory both for explaining the role of banks in the economy and for pointing out structural weaknesses in the banking sector that may justify government intervention.

Twenty years ago, most banking courses focused on either management or monetary aspects of banking, with no connecting. Since then, a microeconomic theory of banking has developed, mainly through a switch of emphasis from the modeling of risk to the modeling of imperfect information. This asymmetric information model is based on the assumption that different economic agents possess different pieces of information on relevant economic variables, and that they will use the information for their own profit. The model has been extremely useful in explaining the role of banks in the economy.