Misunderstanding Financial Crises

Misunderstanding Financial Crises : Why We Don't See Them Coming

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Prior to the financial crisis of 2007-2008, economists thought that no such crisis could or would ever happen again in the United States, that financial events of such magnitude were a thing of the distant past. In fact, observers of that distant past-the period from the half century prior to the Civil War up to the passage of deposit insurance during the Great Depression, which was marked by repeated financial crises-note that while legislation immediately after crises reacted to their effects, economists and policymakers continually failed to grasp the true lessons to be learned. Gary Gorton, considered by many to be the authority on the financial crisis of our time, holds that economists fundamentally misunderstand financial crises-what they are, why they occur, and why there were none in the U.S. between 1934 and 2007. In Misunderstanding Financial Crises, he illustrates that financial crises are inherent to the production of bank debt, which is used to conduct transactions, and that unless the government designs intelligent regulation, crises will continue.
Economists, he writes, looked from a certain point of view and missed everything that was important: the evolution of capital markets and the banking system, the existence of new financial instruments, and the size of certain money markets like the sale and repurchase market. Delving into how such a massive intellectual failure could have happened, Gorton offers a back-to-basics elucidation of financial crises, and shows how they are not rare, idiosyncratic, unfortunate events caused by a coincidence of unconnected factors. By looking back to the "Quiet Period " from 1934 to 2007 when there were no systemic crises, and to the "Panic of 2007-2008, " he brings together such issues as bank debt and liquidity, credit booms and manias, and moral hazard and too-big-too-fail, to illustrate the costs of bank failure and the true causes of financial crises. He argues that the successful regulation that prevented crises did not adequately keep pace with innovation in the financial sector, due in large part to economists' misunderstandings.
He then looks forward to offer both a better way for economists to conceive of markets, as well as a description of the regulation necessary to address the historical threat of financial crises.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 26mm | 559.99g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 019992290X
  • 9780199922901
  • 312,604

Table of contents

Preface ; I. Introduction ; II. Creating the Quiet Period ; III. Financial Crises ; IV. Liquidity and Secrets ; V. Credit Booms and Manias ; VI. The Timing of Crises ; VII. Economic Theory without History ; VIII. Debt During Crises ; IX. The Quiet Period and Its End ; X. Moral Hazard and Too-Big-To-Fail ; XI. Bank Capital ; XII. Fat Cats, Crisis Costs, and the Paradox of Financial Crises ; XIII. The Panic of 2007-2008 ; XIV. The Theory and Practice of Seeing ; Bibliographic Notes ; Notes ; References ; Index
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Review quote

[An] important book. A Financial Times Book of the Year. * Financial Times It is full of interesting ideas and original thinking, and is warmly recommended to anyone interested in the financial crisis. * Gorton brings to the question a combination of historical perspective, academic expertise and, unlike most academics, personal experience...his book is a refreshing and valuable account that should take its place among the essential reading of any student of crises. * The Economist *
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About Gary B. Gorton

The Frederick Frank Class of 1954 Professor of Finance at the Yale School of Management
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Rating details

53 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 28% (15)
4 43% (23)
3 25% (13)
2 4% (2)
1 0% (0)
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