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An Autopsy of the U.S. Financial System

  • Ross Levine

In this postmortem, I find that the design, implementation, and maintenance of financial policies during the period from 1996 through 2006 were primary causes of the financial system's demise. The evidence is inconsistent with the view that the collapse of the financial system was caused only by the popping of the housing bubble and the herding behavior of financiers rushing to create and market increasingly complex and questionable financial products. Rather, the evidence indicates that regulatory agencies were aware of the growing fragility of the financial system associated with their policies during the decade before the crisis and yet chose not to modify those policies.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15956.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as “An Autopsy of the U.S. Financial System: Accident, Suicide, or Murder?” Journal of Financial Economic Policy, 2010 2(3), 196 - 213.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15956
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Asli Demirg��-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2009. "Finance and Inequality: Theory and Evidence," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 287-318, November.
  2. Ravi Jagannathan & Mudit Kapoor & Ernst Schaumburg, 2009. "Causes of the Great Recession of 2007-9: The Financial Crisis is the Symptom not the Disease!," NBER Working Papers 15404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2009. "Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-2008," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 77-100, Winter.
  4. Pinches, George E & Singleton, J Clay, 1978. "The Adjustment of Stock Prices to Bond Rating Changes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(1), pages 29-44, March.
  5. Barth,James R. & Caprio,Gerard & Levine,Ross, 2008. "Rethinking Bank Regulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521709309, October.
  6. Ross Levine, 1997. "Financial Development and Economic Growth: Views and Agenda," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 688-726, June.
  7. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 2009. "Crisis and Responses: The Federal Reserve in the Early Stages of the Financial Crisis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 51-75, Winter.
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