Indonesia | Economics

Monday, October 20, 2008

Scholes on financial regulation

From Myron Scholes's opening statement on The Economist's debate on financial regulation with Joseph Stiglitz:
Economic theory suggests that financial innovation must lead to failures. And, in particular, since successful innovations are hard to predict, the infrastructure necessary to support innovation needs to lag the innovations themselves, which increases the probability that controls will be insufficient at times to prevent breakdowns in governance mechanisms. Failures, however, do not lead to the conclusion that re-regulation will succeed in stemming future failures. Or that society will be better off with fewer freedoms. Although governments are able to regulate organisational forms, they are unable to regulate the services provided by competing entities, many yet to be born. Organisational forms change with financial innovations. Although functions of finance remain static and are similar in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States, their provision is dynamic as entities attempt to profit by providing services at lower cost and greater benefit than competing alternatives.

Thanks to Puspa Amri for the pointer.

On a side note: Rodrik put up a challenge in his blog for anyone to come up with financial innovations that have made us better off, and Steve Wadman took it up. HT: Dani Rodrik.

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