“Rotten Institutions” or “Blameless Bubble”?

The report of the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was released last week to controversy and criticism.   The report contains a wealth of information and is interesting reading even for those whose interest is mainly in our own financial crisis.  Much of the story has been about the partisan squabbling since the report’s release, with the Commission failing to agree on the final product.   Republican commissioners issued two separate dissents to the “majority” report (see here for the dissent of Hennessy et al.).    This just underlines how politicised the narrative of the crisis has become.   Strangely enough, though, I find the duelling perspectives actually add a useful analytical edge – otherwise lacking – to the report.  (Update: See here for an interesting discussion at the NYT.)

Anger at our government is probably too raw to have a much of a productive debate until after the election.  But to draw the proper institutional and policy reform lessons, it will be useful to similarly consider the competing extremes of the “rotten institutions” and “blameless bubble” explanations for the crisis, and to explore where the truth lies.  

Some short extracts follow after the break to give a flavour of both the majority report and the dissent.

Central Bank Quarterly Bulletin

The new Central Bank Quarterly Bulletin is available here.  In addition to the new economic forecasts, the Bulletin carries some very interesting special articles on:

  • Large-Value Payment System Design and Risk Management
  • Firms’ Financing During the Crisis: A Regional Analysis
  • Irish Money and Banking Statistics: A New Approach

Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base

The recent Ernst and Young report commissioned by the Department of Finance on the economic and budgetary impact of the proposed CCCTB is available here.

Sovereign Debt: Pointers from the Past

Anousha Sakoui has written a very interesting Analysis article in today’s FT on the experiences of some top European officials during various Emerging Market debt crises during the last 30 years: you can read it here.

A Tribute to Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa

Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa was a major figure in the creation of the euro; he died just before Christmas.

Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi provides a very interesting overview of his career in this speech.