Course description

This course closely examines the path of public policy, whether fiscal stimulus plans or the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, through the nuts and bolts of—and from the viewpoint of—the capital markets. When the Fed or the European Central Bank announces a monthly $85 billion securities buying program, how exactly does this money flow through the markets? When the government bails out a major bank, how does this action affect the bank, its competitors, the markets, future perceptions, the economy at large? How can central banks affect the economy in an environment of zero and even negative interest rates? Should regulation influence the behavior of firms or individuals? Using the 2008 financial crisis and policy responses thereto as a backdrop, we explore how (and whether) the new capital markets created over the past thirty years as a result of greatly increased financial innovation, globalization, and communication are distorting the economic effect of traditional government monetary and/or fiscal influence. The role of important constituents (commercial and investment banks, exchanges, regulators, hedge funds, government interventions) are reviewed and evaluated for both past performance and future relevance. The course addresses important current topics in both economics and public policy, such as too big to fail, moral hazard, globalization of markets, currency unions, liquidity traps, efficiency of markets, the role of credit rating agencies, shadow banking, regulation of derivatives and hedge funds, Glass-Steagall, and the Volcker Rule.


  • Teaching Assistant in Economics, Harvard University and Director, Harvest Capital
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