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Financial Crises, Safety Nets And Regulation

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Executive Summary

The historical record shows that financial crises are far from being a rare a phenomenon; they occur often enough to be considered part of the workings of finance capitalism. While there is no single hypothesis that can best explain all crises, the implications of the credit boom-and-bust hypothesis, supplemented with asymmetric information, are consistent with the onset and development of many crises, including the current subprime crisis. Governments have reacted to crises by erecting a vast and growing safety net. In turn, to minimize their risk exposure, they have also put in place expansive systems of regulation and supervision.

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