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The Subprime VirusReckless Credit, Regulatory Failure, and Next Steps$
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Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia A. McCoy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388824

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195388824.001.0001

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Containing Contagion

Containing Contagion

(p.237) 13 Containing Contagion
The Subprime Virus

Kathleen C. Engel

Patricia A. McCoy

Oxford University Press

This chapter first explains how federal government bailouts during the subprime crisis increased the risk for more severe financial crises in the future. The government sent businesses the wrong message that they can pursue senseless strategies in search of higher yields because Uncle Sam will absorb any losses if firms are too big to fail. In other words, the result of the bailouts was moral hazard. The chapter then discusses three ways to rein in too-big-to-fail firms and evaluates the capacity of the Dodd-Frank Act to perform these tasks. First, the law should require federal regulators to put failing financial giants into receivership before stabilizing them with federal aid. Second, the nation needs a systemic risk regulator to track and address looming systemic risks. Finally, swaps need to be moved onto exchanges as much as possible, while swaps that bet on the performance of assets owned by others should be banned.

Keywords:   systemic risk, risk regulator, financial regulators, federal government bailouts, subprime crisis, moral hazard, Dodd-Frank Act, receivership, federal aid

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