Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Structural Causes of the Global Financial Crisis: A Critical Assessment of the ‘New Financial Architecture’

Contents:

Author Info

  • James Crotty

    ()
    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

The main thesis of this paper is that the ultimate cause of the current global financial crisis is to be found in the deeply flawed institutions and practices of what is often referred to as the New Financial Architecture (NFA) – a globally integrated system of giant bank conglomerates and the so-called ‘shadow banking system’ of investment banks, hedge funds and bank-created Special Investment Vehicles. The institutions are either lightly and badly regulated or not regulated at all, an arrangement defended by and celebrated in the dominant financial economics theoretical paradigm – the theory of efficient capital markets. The NFA has generated a series of ever-bigger financial crises that have been met by larger and larger government bailouts. After a brief review of the historical evolution of the NFA, the paper analyses its structural flaws. The problems discussed in order are: 1) the theoretical foundation of the NFA – the theory of efficient capital markets – is very weak and the celebratory narrative of the NFA accepted by regulators is seriously misleading; 2) widespread perverse incentives embedded in the NFA generated excessive risk-taking throughout financial markets; 3) mortgage-backed securities central to the boom were so complex and nontransparent that they could not possibly be priced correctly; their prices were bound to collapse once the excessive optimism of the boom faded; 4) contrary to the narrative, excessive risk built up in giant banks during the boom; and 5) the NFA generated high leverage and high systemic risk, with channels of contagion that transmitted problems in the US subprime mortgage market around the world. Understanding the profound problems of the NFA is a necessary step toward the creation of a new and improved set of financial institutions and practices likely to achieve core policy objectives such as faster real sector growth with lower inequality. JEL Categories:

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.umass.edu/economics/publications/2008-14.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2008-14.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2008-14

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Thompson Hall, Amherst, MA 01003
Phone: (413)545-2590
Fax: (413)545-2921
Email:
Web page: http://www.umass.edu/economics
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Is the 2007 U.S. Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different? An International Historical Comparison," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 56(3), pages 291-299, September.
  2. William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, 09.
  3. Peter Folkman & Julie Froud & Sukhdev Johal & Karel Williams, 2007. "Working for themselves? Capital market intermediaries and present day capitalism," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(4), pages 552-572.
  4. Gene Amromin & Steven A. Sharpe, 2009. "Expectations of risk and return among household investors: Are their Sharpe ratios countercyclical?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jan.
  5. Raghuram G. Rajan, 2005. "Has financial development made the world riskier?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 313-369.
  6. L. Randall Wray, 2008. "Lessons from the Subprime Meltdown," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 51(2), pages 40-68, March.
  7. James Crotty, 2007. "If Financial Market Competition is so Intense, Why are Financial Firm Profits so High? Reflections on the Current ‘Golden Age’ of Finance," Working Papers wp134, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  8. Caballero, R J. & Krishnamurthy, A., 2008. "Musical chairs: a comment on the credit crisis," Financial Stability Review, Banque de France, issue 11, pages 9-11, February.
  9. Janet L. Yellen, 2008. "The financial markets, housing, and the economy," Speech 48, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2008. "Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-08," NBER Working Papers 14612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. L. Randall Wray, 2006. "Can Basel II Enhance Financial Stability?: A Pessimistic View," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_84, Levy Economics Institute.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2008-14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Saunders).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.