Connectivity climbs post crisis — Robert Merton

From Financial Times

Interdependency between banks, insurers and countries through financial instruments was a factor blamed for the financial crisis. Now, academics are trying to measure it. Bob Merton, professor of finance at MIT Sloan, explains to John Authers that credit seems even more interconnected now.

Robert C. Merton is the School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Watch the video at the Financial Times.

Containing Contagion: ‘There is no replacement for good macro-fundamentals’ — Kristin Forbes

MIT Sloan Prof. Kristin Forbes

What began as a singular sovereign debt problem in Greece in 2009 quickly spread to the rest of Europe. First Ireland; then Portugal and Spain and Italy. Today—only three years after the first signs of trouble—virtually all Europeans have felt the destructive effects of the euro zone turmoil, and its impact is being felt around the world.

Contagion, a phenomenon where financial tumult in one country or region spreads to another country, is now a fact of life. The globalization of finance has, in many ways, made contagion inevitable. The world has become much more integrated through trade, investors, and banks, and these ties have caused countries’ financial markets to move together more closely during good times and bad. Read More »

Low Bank Capital Is Next Fiscal Crisis: Simon Johnson

From Bloomberg News

The summer debate that has dominated Washington seems straightforward. Under what conditions should the U.S. government be allowed to borrow more money? The numbers that have been bandied about focus on reducing the cumulative deficit projection over the next 10 years, as measured by the Congressional Budget Office.

But there is a serious drawback to this measure because it ignores what will probably prove to be the U.S.’s single largest fiscal problem over the next decade: The lack of adequate capital buffers at banks.

Read More »

Simon Johnson talks about corruption and the rule of law

Simon Johnson recently spoke about corruption and the Rule of Law with Art Buono of Lawyers.com:

Art Buono: Simon, thanks for taking part in the Rule of Law Interviews. So, just to start, could you tell us a little bit about what’s happening with financial reform? It’s been about a year since “13 Bankers” was published. And you’re a warrior right on the front lines there. What’s going on, on the battleground? And who’s winning?

Simon Johnson: Well you know it’s obviously – it’s going to be a long haul to change the relevant rules and power structure around these issues. But I’m fairly optimistic at this point, for a couple of reasons. First of all, the academic Read More »