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Regulating Financial Innovations Without Apology

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    Abstract

    This paper views the housing and credit bubble 2001-2008 in a stylized manner, namely as a sequence starting with a financial innovation in 2001 followed by the superimposition of other financial innovations leading to the prevalence of uncertainty in Knight’s sense and ending in the last quarter of 2008 with both market failure and regulation failure. This ‘debt bubble sequence’ is just a slice of a dynamic process of stupefying complexity involving ignorance in a fundamental way. Few analysts would deny that a financial innovation, namely the sub-prime mortgage,combined with market participants’ ignorance about the size and location of the risk underlying complex financial products was a critical factor conducive to the financial meltdown 2007-2008. To the extent that financial innovation does bear the blame, the most obvious question is whether anything can be done to help reduce the degree of public’s ignorance about financial innovations and to prevent destabilizing innovations from entering the market.The main claim of this paper is that society should be involved in exercising directive intelligence through an appropriate institutional arrangement over the intricacies and technicalities inherent to financial innovations. Specifically, the paper proposes a new institutional arrangement conceived with the aim of strengthening financial system reliability and breaking the ‘government regulation-financial innovation’ vicious circle.

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    File URL: http://www.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@commerce/@econ/documents/web/uow056713.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia in its series Economics Working Papers with number wp09-01.

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    Length: 28 pages
    Date of creation: 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:uow:depec1:wp09-01

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    Postal: School of Economics, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia
    Phone: +612 4221-3659
    Fax: +612 4221-3725
    Web page: http://business.uow.edu.au/econ/index.html
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    Related research

    Keywords: Toxic financial innovations; Knightian uncertainty; debt bubble 2001-2008; relevant regulation;

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    1. John J. McConnell & Eduardo S. Schwartz, 1992. "THE ORIGIN OF LYONs: A CASE STUDY IN FINANCIAL INNOVATION," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 4(4), pages 40-47.
    2. Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2008. "Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-08," NBER Working Papers 14612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Stephen Bell & John Quiggin, 2004. "Asset Price Instability and Policy Responses: The Legacy of Liberalisation," Australian Public Policy Program Working Papers WPP04_3, Risk and Sustainable Management Group, University of Queensland.
    4. Lucas, Robert E., 1977. "Understanding business cycles," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 7-29, January.
    5. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Miller, Merton H., 1986. "Financial Innovation: The Last Twenty Years and the Next," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(04), pages 459-471, December.
    7. Tirole, Jean, 1982. "On the Possibility of Speculation under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1163-81, September.
    8. Lerner, Josh, 2006. "The new new financial thing: The origins of financial innovations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 223-255, February.
    9. Simon, Herbert A, 1979. "Rational Decision Making in Business Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 493-513, September.
    10. John B. Taylor, 2009. "The Financial Crisis and the Policy Responses: An Empirical Analysis of What Went Wrong," NBER Working Papers 14631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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