Panel Paper: Regulation or Nationalization? Lessons Learned From the 2008 Financial Crisis

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 8:40 AM
Carroll (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Susan Wachter, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and Adam J. Levitin, Georgetown University Law Center

This paper places the recent home mortgage crisis in historical context, arguing that the latest crisis emerged as a result of the unsynchronized development of the housing finance market and the regulatory structure overseeing that market.  After tracing market and regulatory conditions from before the Great Depression to the present day, we suggest that successful regulation of housing finance requires either strong federal institutions that dominate the market or robust regulation of private market actors. Following the Great Depression, the United States built a mortgage market based on dominant governmental institutions, displacing the need for conventional forms of regulation.  Yet as this public model broke down in the latter part of the last century, with the widespread emergence of private securitization in the secondary markets, the conventional regulatory model failed to return to take the place of the institutions.