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Jihad Dagher
Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
Mr. John R. Garrett, Hans-Joachim Beyer, and Ms. Claudia H Dziobek
Successful privatization must be accompanied by the complete removal of privileges and any public policy mission. Bank behavior changes rapidly as profit maximation replaces the bureaucratic objective function. Once privileges are granted, they are difficult to remove. Therefore, privatization is a one-time (nonreversible) operation. The German mortgage bank, DePfa, went through a carefully planned and lengthy privatization process that was successful. Fannie Mae, the U.S. mortgage firm, became a privately owned institution endowed with special privileges, which led to a quasi-monopoly position. This resulted in suboptimal financial sector performance. Fannie Mae’s special privileges have proven resistant to reform efforts.