Saturday, January 3, 2009

The credit crisis and market design

The WSJ, in its Real Time Economics Blog and in a related story in their January 2 issue, raises some questions about how discussion of financial market regulation has turned into a discussion of market design (although that's not exactly the way they put it). They recount the poor reception given to Raghuram G. Rajan's 2005 presentation at the Fed's Jackson Hole conference in honor of Alan Greenspan. Prof. Rajan noted that banks' increased exposure to the securities markets would make them less able to serve as a source of credit in a crisis, and his concerns were, the story reports, met with disdain by those assembled. The blog summarizes the attitude at the time:

"The episode suggests one reason that the crisis went unchecked: A dangerous all-or-nothing orthodoxy had come to dominate the policy debate, where one was either for free markets or against them. "

The point of the market design movement, of course, is that markets aren't either "free" or non-existent. A better description is that markets have rules, and some rules work better than others, and the goal of regulators and others who shape the rules should be to find rules that enable markets to work better.

However the WSJ blog also quotes Professor Rajan on the difficulties facing academics who wish to offer opinions on compex issues of public policy:
"“Most academics are really reluctant to take part in the public dialog, because the public dialog requires you to have an opinion about things you can’t really be sure about,” says Mr. Rajan. “They fear talking about things where everything is not neatly nailed in a model. They stay away and let the charlatans occupy the high ground.” "


(The story notes that calls for sensible regulation and market design were met with condescension before the credit crisis, a condescension that is being reevaluated now. So perhaps now is the chance I've been waiting for to note that an anagram for MARKET DESIGN is NEGATED SMIRK :-)

3 comments:

Scott said...

Other anagrams include:

"MEEK TRADINGS"
"DARK MEETINGS"
"DANGER KISMET"

ac54bb1a-42dc-11e0-ada3-000bcdca4d7a said...

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custom essay said...

My point of view the market design movement, of course, is that markets aren't either "free" or non-existent. A better description is that markets have rules, and some rules work better than others, and type of regulators and others who shape the rules should be to find rules that enable markets to work better.