We propose an activity-generating theory of regulation. When courts make errors, tort litigation becomes unpredictable and as such imposes risk on firms, thereby discouraging entry, innovation, and other socially desirable activity. When social returns to innovation are higher than private returns, it may pay the society to generate some information ex ante about how risky firms are, and to impose safety standards based on that information. In some situations, compliance with such standards should entirely preempt tort liability; in others, it should merely reduce penalties. By reducing litigation risk, this type of regulation can raise welfare.
We use several data sets to consider the effect of teaching practices on student beliefs, as well as on organization of firms and institutions. In student level data, teaching practices (such as teachers lecturing versus students working in groups) exert a substantial influence on student beliefs about cooperation both with each other and with teachers. In cross‐ country data, teaching practices shape both beliefs and institutional outcomes. The relationship between teaching practices and student test performance is nonlinear. The evidence supports the idea that progressive education promotes social capital.
We investigate the determinants of regional development using a newly constructed database of 1569 sub-national regions from 110 countries covering 74 percent of the world’s surface and 96 percent of its GDP. We combine the cross-regional analysis of geographic, institutional, cultural, and human capital determinants of regional development with an examination of productivity in several thousand establishments located in these regions. To organize the discussion, we present a new model of regional development that introduces into a standard migration framework elements of both the Lucas (1978) model of the allocation of talent between entrepreneurship and work, and the Lucas (1988) model of human capital externalities. The evidence points to the paramount importance of human capital in accounting for regional differences in development, but also suggests from model estimation and calibration that entrepreneurial inputs and human capital externalities are essential for understanding the data.
We present a model of shadow banking in which banks originate and trade loans, assemble them into diversified portfolios, and finance these portfolios externally with riskless debt. In this model: outside investor wealth drives the demand for riskless debt and indirectly for securitization, bank assets and leverage move together, banks become interconnected through markets, and banks increase their exposure to systematic risk as they reduce idiosyncratic risk through diversification. The shadow banking system is stable and welfare improving under rational expectations, but vulnerable to crises and liquidity dry-ups when investors neglect tail risks.
We present a standard model of financial innovation, in which intermediaries engineer securities with cash flows that investors seek, but modify two assumptions. First, investors (and possibly intermediaries) neglect certain unlikely risks. Second, investors demand securities with safe cash flows. Financial intermediaries cater to these preferences and beliefs by engineering securities perceived to be safe but exposed to neglected risks. Because the risks are neglected, security issuance is excessive. As investors eventually recognize these risks, they fly back to the safety of traditional securities and markets become fragile, even without leverage, precisely because the volume of new claims is excessive.
Copyright 2011 Published by Elsevier B.V.
We present a simple model in which rational but uninformed traders occasionally chase noise as if it were information, thereby amplifying sentiment shocks and moving prices away from fundamental values. In the model, noise traders can have an impact on market equilibrium disproportionate to their size in the market. The model offers a partial explanation for the surprisingly low market price of financial risk in the spring of 2007.
Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.