Series on recession and financial crisis
Over the last few weeks we have had a series of discussions at Hoover on the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis and recession. This all happened mostly due to the energy of John Taylor.
The final event on Friday Dec 7 was a Panel Discussion Summary, including Taylor, Shultz, Ferguson, Hoxby, Duffie, and myself, with question and answer. Click the above video.
This was preceded by four smaller discussions. We did not video them, but there are transcripts and presentation materials.
October 19, The causes. (Follow links to a transcript and to the presentation slides.) John Taylor and Monika Piazzesi present and learn discussion on the causes of the financial crisis, emphasizing monetary policy, regulation, and housing.
November 9 The Panic What happened on in the panic of August through November (or so) 2018? Did the actions of government officials help or hurt? Or both? George Shultz and Niall Ferguson present their views and lead the discussion.
December 7 The Recession. Why was the recession so deep? Why wasn’t it deeper, repeating the Great Recession? Why did it last so long? Did fiscal stimulus help or hurt? Caroline Hoxby and John Taylor led, focusing on labor markets and stimulus. I added some comments on QE and the lessons of the long zero bound for monetary economics; Bob Hall comments on labor markets and unemployment, Mike Boskin comments on stimulus, and much more
December 7 also, Lessons for Financial Regulation. Darrell Duffie and me. Darrell summarizes his excellent “Prone to Fail.” I expound on the need for more capital.
What’s distinctive about this series, given all the other conferences and retrospectives?
First, we decided not to have retrospectives from people in power at the time. Many other such meetings are descending into memoirs of how we saved the world. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. And maybe that’s not so interesting, except of course to the parties involved who would like to go down nicely in history.
Second, you will find an effort to trace the intellectual lessons of the last 10 years of thought, not just whether certain actions were right or wrong in context of some eternal truth. We all have learned a great deal in the last 10 years, and opinions are shifting. For example, I discuss how capital, once thought immensely costly and regulation much prefereable, has slowly emerged as not at all costly and the best salve for financial crises. Similar lessons have emerged throughout.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, you will find here many disagreements with the standard narrative and what is becoming the first draft of history, as Ferguson nicely described. No, maybe it wasn’t just “greed” and “deregulation.” No, maybe our officials contributed to panic as much as they helped to stop it. No, maybe fiscal stimulus and QE did not save the world. No, maybe our super-confident regulators armed with an immensely larger rule book are not ready to save the world again next time. And in each case you will hear contrary views buttressed with facts and thoughtful analysis. Perhaps when the second draft of history is ready to be written this will be a starting place.