2023 Banking Turmoil
Capital markets are central to capitalism and the functioning of the US economy. Yet, short-selling, an integral part of price discovery in capital markets, has been blamed as a contributor to the recent banking crisis. Lawmakers and interest groups have labeled short sellers opportunists who prey on small investors and the public without justification. The authors shed light on this debate and question the merit of the allegations.
To what degree did banks’ equity price declines trigger deposit withdrawals at recently failed banks? To what degree did the withdrawals trigger declining bank equity prices? Hamid Mehran and Chester Spatt note that in either case, short-selling is not to blame and is, in fact, an essential part of a well-functioning market.
The subsidized emergency takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS brings the current global "too big to fail" regime into question. This column argues that an in-depth analysis of the global resolution framework by both regulators and academics is needed. The main question is whether a resolution of a global systemically important bank is indeed feasible in plausible scenarios. An affirmation would clearly be the best possible result of this analysis. However, if such a resolution proves not to be realistic, then there should be no hesitation to drastically reduce the global risks of such institutions via regulation of their business models.
Adopting a deferred pay scheme for bank managers would provide them with needed funding during a downturn and would incentivize more conservativism when it comes to risk-taking.
Following a widely cited report on unrecognized bank losses due to interest rate rises, Amit Seru and his co-authors have taken a...
Accounting procedures for held-to-maturity assets in banks allows them to avoid taking losses. Research from professors Bischof, Laux, and Leuz shows how...
Far before the collapse of SVB, I provided systematic evidence that banks appear to benefit from their directorships on Federal Reserve Banks....
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In new research, Valentino Larcinese and Alberto Parmigiani find that the 1986 Reagan tax cuts led to greater campaign spending from wealthy individuals, who benefited the most from this policy. The authors argue that a very permissive system of political finance, combined with the erosion of tax progressivity, created the conditions for the mutual reinforcement of economic and political disparities. The result was an inequality spiral hardly compatible with democratic ideals.
ESG, Corporate Governance & Future of the Firm
Many financial commentators thought that the surge of retail investors participating in the stock market, the most notable of whom boosted “meme stocks” like GameStop, would democratize corporate governance and improve prosocial firm behavior, including the promotion of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. In new research, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, and Yoon-Ho Alex Lee find evidence that the exact opposite took place.
Antitrust and Competition
Kroger and Albertsons say they need to merge to compete with Walmart. Claire Kelloway argues that what they really want is Walmart’s monopsony power, and permitting mergers on these grounds will only harm suppliers, workers, and consumers.
Does an inventor’s political identity influence their productivity? In a new paper, Joseph Engelberg, Runjing Lu, William Mullins, and Richard Townsend examine the impacts of the 2008 and 2016 United States presidential elections on Democrat and Republican inventors, with a particular focus on the quantity and quality of patents after the country elects a new president.
Antitrust and Competition
Letter to the Editor: Former FTC and DOJ Chief Economists Urge Separation of Economic and Legal Analysis in Merger Guidelines
Seventeen former chief economists of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division urge current Agency heads to separate the legal and economic analysis in the draft Merger Guidelines to strengthen the role of the latter in merger review.