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The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the Federal Reserve's Extraordinary Intervention during the Global Financial Crisis

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  • Yeva Nersisyan

Abstract

Before the global financial crisis, the assistance of a lender of last resort was traditionally thought to be limited to commercial banks. During the crisis, however, the Federal Reserve created a number of facilities to support brokers and dealers, money market mutual funds, the commercial paper market, the mortgage-backed securities market, the triparty repo market, et cetera. In this paper, we argue that the elimination of specialized banking through the eventual repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA) has played an important role in the leakage of the public subsidy intended for commercial banks to nonbank financial institutions. In a specialized financial system, which the GSA had helped create, the use of the lender-of-last-resort safety net could be more comfortably limited to commercial banks. However, the elimination of GSA restrictions on bank-permissible activities has contributed to the rise of a financial system where the lines between regulated and protected banks and the so-called shadow banking system have become blurred. The existence of the shadow banking universe, which is directly or indirectly guaranteed by banks, has made it practically impossible to confine the safety to the regulated banking system. In this context, reforming the lender-of-last-resort institution requires fundamental changes within the financial system itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Yeva Nersisyan, 2015. "The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the Federal Reserve's Extraordinary Intervention during the Global Financial Crisis," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_829, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_829
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tobias Adrian & Karin Kimbrough & Dina Marchioni, 2011. "The Federal Reserve’s Commercial Paper Funding Facility," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 25-39.
    2. Pozsar, Zoltan & Adrian, Tobias & Ashcraft, Adam B. & Boesky, Hayley, 2013. "Shadow banking," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-16.
      • Zoltan Pozsar & Tobias Adrian & Adam B. Ashcraft & Hayley Boesky, 2010. "Shadow banking," Staff Reports 458, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
    4. Zoltan Pozsar, 2011. "Institutional Cash Pools and the Triffin Dilemma of the U.S. Banking System," IMF Working Papers 11/190, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Goodfriend, Marvin, 2011. "Central banking in the credit turmoil: An assessment of Federal Reserve practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-12, January.
    6. Buiter, Willem H., 2008. "Central banks and financial crises," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 495-633.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Banks; Central Banking; Deregulation; Federal Reserve; Financial Crises; Glass-Steagall Act; Lender of Last Resort; Minsky; Regulation; Securitization; Shadow Banking;

    JEL classification:

    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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