In the monthly update below, you will find news about Tobin Project activities and highlights of recent research from scholars in the network.
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Government & Markets

The Panic of 1907

What were the economic consequences of the Panic of 1907? In a recent working paper, Carola Frydman, Eric Hilt, and Lily Zhou present new evidence regarding the impact of the Panic of 1907 on corporations and find that those corporations with direct ties to trust companies performed worse than their peers. In addition to contributing to the literature on the Panic of 1907, these findings offer important insights into understanding the potential effects of economic crises today.
[Read the working paper]

On Theoretical Foundations for Regulating Financial Markets

Is the regulation of financial markets an attempt to govern the ungovernable? In a new essay, Katharina Pistor presents several theoretical frameworks for understanding financial markets, and reviews and critiques their divergent regulatory implications. Professor Pistor suggests that to reform financial regulation, we should turn to the question of how to restructure the financial system to make it more governable.
[Read the paper]

Betting Big

"Big banks" afford unique benefits to their shareholders and consumers, but they also risk imposing costs that extend beyond these groups and onto the public at large. In a forthcoming article, Lawrence Baxter details both the benefits and costs of big banks, and proposes policy responses, such as providing a stronger role for public representatives in bank governance.
[Read the paper]

Has the Obama Justice Department Reinvigorated Antitrust Enforcement?

While the Department of Justice under the Obama Administration has cultivated a reputation for reinvigorating antitrust enforcement, Daniel Crane argues that this reputation may be unearned. Professor Crane uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative metrics to compare enforcement under Presidents Obama and Bush, and finds the two are surprisingly similar.
[Read the article]

Government & Markets
Economic Inequality
Institutions of Democracy
National Security

News from the Project and Scholars in the Network

Global Trends 2030

On August 23, the Tobin Project hosted a workshop with a group of Tobin's National Security Scholars and the National Intelligence Council (NIC) to provide feedback on a draft version of the Global Trends 2030 report. The report will be published this winter and will outline the intelligence community’s predictions for international political, economic, and social trends that could affect the U.S.’s power and prosperity over next two decades. The NIC publishes this report every four years and aims to stimulate strategic thinking among senior policymakers, particularly those in continuing or incoming administrations.
[Visit the Global Trends 2030 Blog]

Regulation & Governance

Tim Bartley is now a co-editor of the journal Regulation & Governance, along with David Levi-Faur (Hebrew University), Walter Mattli (Oxford), and Christi Ford (University of British Columbia). Regulation & Governance is an interdisciplinary, international journal that publishes leading research on the development and consequences of regulation, as well as novel forms of governance. Professor Bartley would welcome submissions from the Tobin Project network and notes that the journal strives to provide quick, fair reviews – usually with turnaround times of less than 60 days.
[For more information]

Do you have news, announcements, or new work you would like to share with the network?

[Email us]

Economic Inequality

Prosperity Economics
In their recently published report, Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All, Jacob Hacker and Nathaniel Loewentheil offer an alternative to the policies of austerity economics, which they argue have dominated Washington for decades. The report provides a vision for an American society built on the three pillars of growth, security, and democracy and presents policy recommendations aimed at achieving that vision.
[Read the report]

Facing Social Class
In a new edited volume, editors Susan Fiske and Hazel Rose Markus, along with a group of interdisciplinary authors, explore the role that social rank and class play in shaping the lives of Americans throughout the income distribution. The volume seeks to develop a more nuanced understanding of the contradiction between the American dream of social mobility and the real ways in which social class shapes our psyches, relationships, and institutions.
[About the volume] * [Read the first chapter]

Institutions of Democracy

Affluence and Influence
Offering a lens into the ways in which economic inequality affects inequality of political influence in his new book, Martin Gilens demonstrates that government policy is most responsive to the preferences of the wealthy. Professor Gilens finds that in circumstances where the preferences of the wealthy diverge from those of the middle class and poor, the preferences of the less affluent bear nearly no influence on policy outcomes.

Professor Gilens also leads off the debate this month in the Boston Review Forum on the impact of wealth on government.
[About the book] * [Read the introduction] * [Read the Boston Review essay]

Fighting Concentrated Money
In his response to Martin Gilens’s essay, Archon Fung suggests that there are three broad ways in which we might respond to the alarming patterns Professor Gilens identifies. Professor Fung suggests that insulating the political process from the influence of money would be highly unrealistic in our political system. Instead, he sees more hope in strategies like turning to internet populism for political campaigns and establishing popular organizations that can advocate for policies that favor the poor and middle classes.
[Read the response] * [The Boston Review Forum]

National Security

Global Nuclear Disarmament
In Nature, Scott Sagan argues that responsible states, scientists, and other stakeholders should move toward global nuclear disarmament by exercising greater control over nuclear materials and toughening the verification mechanisms of the international nonproliferation regime.
[Read the article]

The Geopolitics of Energy Independence
On Project Syndicate, Joseph Nye considers how the increased production of natural gas in the U.S. could affect the country’s relationships with other major powers. Professor Nye argues that greater U.S. energy independence through domestic gas production could strengthen the U.S.’s bargaining position with countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, but he cautions that the U.S. would still be vulnerable to spikes in global oil prices.
[Read the post]

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