Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Recent Papers Of Interest

Banking Crises: An Equal Opportunity Menace

Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff
NBER Working Paper, December 2008

The historical frequency of banking crises is quite similar in high- and middle- to-low-income countries, with quantitative and qualitative parallels in both the run-ups and the aftermath. We establish these regularities using a unique dataset spanning from Denmark's financial panic during the Napoleonic War to the ongoing global financial crisis sparked by subprime mortgage defaults in the United States. Banking crises dramatically weaken fiscal positions in both groups, with government revenues invariably contracting, and fiscal expenditures often expanding sharply. Three years after a financial crisis central government debt increases, on average, by about 86 percent. Thus the fiscal burden of banking crisis extends far beyond the commonly cited cost of the bailouts. Our new dataset includes housing price data for emerging markets; these allow us to show that the real estate price cycles around banking crises are similar in duration and amplitude to those in advanced economies, with the busts averaging four to six years. Corroborating earlier work, we find that systemic banking crises are typically preceded by asset price bubbles, large capital inflows and credit booms, in rich and poor countries alike.


Ownership: Evolution and Regulation

Julian Franks, Colin Mayer & Stefano Rossi
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

This article is the first study of long-run evolution of investor protection and corporate ownership in the United Kingdom over the twentieth century. Formal investor protection emerged only in the second half of the century. We assess the influence of investor protection on ownership by comparing cross-sections of firms at different times in the century and the evolution of firms incorporating at different stages of the century. Investor protection had little impact on dispersion of ownership: even in the absence of investor protection, rates of dispersion of ownership were high, associated primarily with mergers. Preliminary evidence suggests that ownership dispersion in the United Kingdom relied more on informal relations of trust than on formal investor protection.


Product market deregulation and the US employment miracle

Monique Ebell & Christian Haefke
Review of Economic Dynamics, forthcoming

We consider the dynamic relationship between product market entry regulation and equilibrium unemployment. The main theoretical contribution is combining a job matching model with monopolistic competition in the goods market and individual bargaining. We calibrate the model to US data and perform a policy experiment to assess whether the decrease in trend unemployment during the 1980s and 1990s could be directly attributed to product market deregulation. Under our baseline calibration, our results suggest that a decrease of less than two-tenths of a percentage point of unemployment rates can be attributed to product market deregulation, a surprisingly small amount.

(Nod to KL)