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Full-Text Articles in Law

Judging Risk, Brandon L. Garrett, John Monahan Jan 2019

Judging Risk, Brandon L. Garrett, John Monahan

Faculty Scholarship

Risk assessment plays an increasingly pervasive role in criminal justice in the United States at all stages of the process, from policing, to pre-trial, sentencing, corrections, and during parole. As efforts to reduce incarceration have led to adoption of risk-assessment tools, critics have begun to ask whether various instruments in use are valid and whether they might reinforce rather than reduce bias in criminal justice outcomes. Such work has neglected how decisionmakers use risk-assessment in practice. In this Article, we examine in detail the judging of risk assessment and we study why decisionmakers so often fail to consistently use such ...


Perspectives On Regulating Systemic Risk, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2016

Perspectives On Regulating Systemic Risk, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This book chapter, which synthesizes several of the author’s articles, attempts to provide useful perspectives on regulating systemic risk. First, it argues that systemic shocks are inevitable. Accordingly, regulation should be designed not only to try to reduce those shocks but also to protect the financial system against their unavoidable impact. This could be done, the chapter explains, by applying chaos theory to help stabilize the financial system. The chapter then focuses on trying to prevent excessive corporate risk-taking, which is one of the leading triggers of systemic shocks and widely regarded to have been a principal cause of ...


Regulating Financial Change: A Functional Approach, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2016

Regulating Financial Change: A Functional Approach, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

How should we think about regulating our dynamically changing financial system? Existing regulatory approaches have two temporal flaws. The obvious flaw, driven by politics and human nature (and addressed in other writings), is that financial regulation is overly reactive to past crises. This article addresses a less obvious but arguably more fundamental flaw: that financial regulation is normally tethered to the financial architecture, including the distinctive design and structure of financial firms and markets, in place when the regulation is promulgated. In order to effectively address future crises, this article argues, financial regulation must transcend that time-bound architecture. This could ...


Corporate Risk-Taking And Public Duty, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2015

Corporate Risk-Taking And Public Duty, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Derivatives And Collateral: Balancing Remedies And Systemic Risk, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2015

Derivatives And Collateral: Balancing Remedies And Systemic Risk, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

U.S. bankruptcy law grants special rights and immunities to creditors in derivatives transactions, including virtually unlimited enforcement rights. This Article examines whether exempting those transactions from bankruptcy’s automatic stay, including the stay of foreclosure actions against collateral, is necessary or appropriate in order to minimize systemic risk.


Rollover Risk: Ideating A U.S. Debt Default, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2014

Rollover Risk: Ideating A U.S. Debt Default, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This article examines how a U.S. debt default might occur, how it could be avoided, its potential consequences if not avoided, and how those consequences could be mitigated. To that end, the article differentiates defaults caused by insolvency from defaults caused by illiquidity. The latter, which are potentiated by rollover risk (the risk that the government will be temporarily unable to borrow sufficient funds to repay its maturing debt), are not only plausible but have occurred in the past. Moreover, the ongoing controversy over the federal debt ceiling and the rise of the shadow-banking system make these types of ...


Regulating Systemic Risk In Insurance, Daniel Schwarcz, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2014

Regulating Systemic Risk In Insurance, Daniel Schwarcz, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

As exemplified by the dramatic failure of AIG, insurance companies and their affiliates played a central role in the 2008 global financial crisis. It is therefore not surprising that the Dodd-Frank Act—the United States’ primary legislative re-sponse to the crisis—contained an entire title dedicated to insurance regulation, which has traditionally been the responsibility of individual states. The most important insurance-focused reforms in Dodd-Frank empower the Federal Reserve Bank to impose an additional layer of regulatory scrutiny on top of state insurance regulation for a small number of “systemically important” nonbank financial companies, such as AIG. This Article argues ...


The Governance Structure Of Shadow Banking: Rethinking Assumptions About Limited Liability, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2014

The Governance Structure Of Shadow Banking: Rethinking Assumptions About Limited Liability, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

In an earlier article, I argued that shadow banking — the provision of financial services and products outside of the traditional banking system, and thus without the need for bank intermediation between capital markets and the users of funds — is so radically transforming finance that regulatory scholars need to rethink their basic assumptions. This article attempts to rethink the corporate governance assumption that owners of firms should always have their liability limited to the capital they have invested. In the relatively small and decentralized firms that dominate shadow banking, equity investors tend to be active managers. Limited liability gives these investor-managers ...


Don’T ‘Screw Joe The Plummer’: The Sausage-Making Of Financial Reform, Kimberly D. Krawiec Jan 2013

Don’T ‘Screw Joe The Plummer’: The Sausage-Making Of Financial Reform, Kimberly D. Krawiec

Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines agency-level activity during the preproposal rulemaking phase—a time period about which little is known despite its importance to policy outcomes—through an analysis of federal agency activity in connection with section 619 of the Dodd–Frank Act, popularly known as the Volcker Rule. By capitalizing on transparency efforts specific to Dodd–Frank, I am able to access information on agency contacts whose disclosure is not required by the Administrative Procedure Act and, therefore, not typically available to researchers.

I analyze the roughly 8,000 public comment letters received by the Financial Stability Oversight Council in advance ...


Regulating Shadows: Financial Regulation And Responsibility Failure, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2013

Regulating Shadows: Financial Regulation And Responsibility Failure, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

In the modern financial architecture, financial services and products increasingly are provided outside of the traditional banking system—and thus without the need for bank intermediation between capital markets and the users of funds. Most corporate financing, for example, no longer is dependent on bank loans but raised through special-purpose entities, money-market mutual funds, securities lenders, hedge funds, and investment banks. This shift, referred to as “disintermediation” and described as creating a “shadow banking” system, is so radically transforming finance that regulatory scholars need to rethink their assumptions. Two of the fundamental market failures underlying shadow banking—information failure and ...


Framing Address: A Framework For Analyzing Financial Market Transformation, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2013

Framing Address: A Framework For Analyzing Financial Market Transformation, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

To open an international conference on “Rethinking Financial Markets,” this address seeks to frame that inquiry from the perspectives of scholars in the fields of law, economics, finance, and accounting. In attempting to identify what it is about financial markets that is worth rethinking, the address focuses on market changes that increase decentralization, fragmentation, globalization, disintermediation, and funding mismatches. The address also argues that the scholarly perspectives are inherently interrelated: although scholars in each field proceed from their own toolkits, they all aim for the common normative goal of optimizing financial markets to enable capital formation.


The Bankruptcy-Law Safe Harbor For Derivatives: A Path-Dependence Analysis, Steven L. Schwarcz, Ori Sharon Jan 2013

The Bankruptcy-Law Safe Harbor For Derivatives: A Path-Dependence Analysis, Steven L. Schwarcz, Ori Sharon

Faculty Scholarship

U.S. bankruptcy law grants special rights and immunities to creditors in derivatives transactions, including virtually unlimited enforcement rights. This article argues that these rights and immunities result from a form of path dependence, a sequence of industry-lobbied legislative steps, each incremental and in turn serving as apparent justification for the next step, without a rigorous and systematic vetting of the consequences. Because the resulting “safe harbor” has not been fully vetted, its significance and utility should not be taken for granted; and thus regulators, legislators, and other policymakers—whether in the United States or abroad—should not automatically assume ...


Lawyers In The Shadows: The Transactional Lawyer In A World Of Shadow Banking, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2013

Lawyers In The Shadows: The Transactional Lawyer In A World Of Shadow Banking, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This article, which is based on the author’s keynote address at an April 5, 2013 conference at American University Washington College of Law on “Transactional Lawyering: Theory, Practice, & Pedagogy,” examines the role of transactional lawyers in a world of shadow banking. By reducing the dominance of banks as financial intermediaries, shadow banking has transformed the financial system, causing transactional lawyers to face an array of novel issues. This article focuses on one of those issues: To what extent should transactional lawyers address the potential systemic consequences of their client’s actions? First, the article shows that the legal system ...


Controlling Financial Chaos: The Power And Limits Of Law, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2012

Controlling Financial Chaos: The Power And Limits Of Law, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay examines how law can help to control financial chaos. To that end, regulation should strive to not only maximize economic efficiency within the financial system but also protect the financial system itself. Any regulatory framework for achieving these goals, however, will be imperfect and have tradeoffs. Increasing financial complexity has created information failures that even disclosure cannot remedy, whereas law-imposed standardization would have its own flaws. Bounded human rationality limits the effectiveness of even otherwise ideal laws. Furthermore, the increasing dispersion of financial risk is undermining monitoring incentives. We also do not yet fully understand how systemic risk ...


A Current Assessment Of Some Extraterritorial Impacts Of The Dodd-Frank Act With Special Focus On The Volcker Rule And Derivatives Regulation, Lawrence G. Baxter Jan 2012

A Current Assessment Of Some Extraterritorial Impacts Of The Dodd-Frank Act With Special Focus On The Volcker Rule And Derivatives Regulation, Lawrence G. Baxter

Faculty Scholarship

As the world struggles to emerge from the Global Financial Crisis the vision of a harmonious framework of global financial regulation seems as distant as ever. Important progress made by international committees such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the Financial Stability Board notwithstanding, there seem to be increasing signs of unilateral, extraterritorial action by major jurisdictions, including the United States. This paper reviews the framework created by the US financial reforms, in particular anti money laundering provisions, the Volcker Rule and the proposed OTC derivatives margin requirements, and considers some of the dilemmas presented by modern global ...


Regulating Shadow Banking, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2012

Regulating Shadow Banking, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Inaugural Address for Boston University Review of Banking & Financial Law's Inaugural Symposium: “Shadow Banking” February 24, 2012.

Although shadow banking is said to be huge, estimated at over $60 trillion, it is not well defined. This short and accessible paper attempts to define shadow banking by identifying its overall scope and its basic characteristics. Based on the definition derived, the paper also conceptually examines how shadow banking can be regulated to try to maximize its efficiencies while minimizing its risks.


Keynote Address: A Regulatory Framework For Managing Systemic Risk, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2011

Keynote Address: A Regulatory Framework For Managing Systemic Risk, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This accessible analysis of systemic risk regulation was delivered as the keynote speech at an October 20, 2011 European Central Bank conference on regulation of financial services. Many regulatory responses, like the Dodd-Frank Act in the United States, consist largely of politically motivated reactions to the financial crisis, looking for villains (whether or not they exist). To be most effective, however, the regulation must be situated within a more analytical framework. In this speech, I attempt to build that framework, showing that preventive regulation is insufficient and that regulation also must be designed to limit the transmission of systemic risk ...


Identifying And Managing Systemic Risk: An Assessment Of Our Progress, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2011

Identifying And Managing Systemic Risk: An Assessment Of Our Progress, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Although a chain of bank failures remains an important symbol of systemic risk, the ongoing trend towards disintermediation—or enabling companies to directly access the ultimate source of funds, the capital (i.e., financial) markets, without going through banks or other financial intermediaries—is making these failures less critical than in the past. While banks and other financial institutions remain important sources of capital, companies today are able to obtain most of their financing through financial markets without the use of intermediaries. As a result, financial markets themselves are increasingly central to any examination of systemic risk.


Regulating Systemic Risk: Towards An Analytical Framework, Steven L. Schwarcz, Iman Anabtawi Jan 2011

Regulating Systemic Risk: Towards An Analytical Framework, Steven L. Schwarcz, Iman Anabtawi

Faculty Scholarship

The global financial crisis demonstrated the inability and unwillingness of financial market participants to safeguard the stability of the financial system. It also highlighted the enormous direct and indirect costs of addressing systemic crises after they have occurred, as opposed to attempting to prevent them from arising. Governments and international organizations are responding with measures intended to make the financial system more resilient to economic shocks, many of which will be implemented by regulatory bodies over time. These measures suffer, however, from the lack of a theoretical account of how systemic risk propagates within the financial system and why regulatory ...


Chapman Dialogue And Law Review Symposium Keynote Address: Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Approaches To Financial Regulation, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2011

Chapman Dialogue And Law Review Symposium Keynote Address: Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Approaches To Financial Regulation, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Ideal financial regulation would work ex ante, to prevent financial failures. Once a failure occurs, there may already be economic damage, and it may be difficult to stop the failure from spreading and becoming systemic. The reality, though, is that preventing financial failures should be only one role for regulators. Even an optimal prophylactic regulatory regime cannot anticipate and prevent every failure. This paper, which formed my Chapman Dialogue Address at Chapman University School of Law and the keynote speech at Chapman Law Review’s 2011 Symposium on the Future of Financial Regulation, attempts to contrast fundamental differences between ex ...


Financial Industry Self-Regulation: Aspiration And Reality, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2011

Financial Industry Self-Regulation: Aspiration And Reality, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

This essay on financial industry self-regulation responds to Professor Saule Omarova’s recent article on that topic, Wall Street as Community of Fate: Toward Financial Industry Self-Regulation, 159 U. PA. L. REV. 411 (2011).


Leverhulme Lecture: The Global Financial Crisis And Systemic Risk, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2010

Leverhulme Lecture: The Global Financial Crisis And Systemic Risk, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

Lecture given November 9, 2010, is the first of three delivered by Prof. Schwarcz as Leverhulme Visiting Professor of Law, Oxford University. Prof. Schwarz examines the causes of the global financial crisis, showing it was triggered by market failures, not by financial institution failures, and arguing that any regulatory framework for managing systemic risk must address markets as well as institutions. The lecture also analyzes how regulation should be designed under that broader framework to mitigate systemic risk and its consequences. Finally, the lecture examines the potential systemic effects of sovereign debt crises, demonstrating how regulation can mitigate those effects.


Theorizing And Generalizing About Risk Assessment And Regulation Through Comparative Nested Analysis Of Representative Cases, Jonathan B. Wiener, Brendon Swedlow, Denise Kall, Zheng Zhou, James K. Hammitt Jan 2009

Theorizing And Generalizing About Risk Assessment And Regulation Through Comparative Nested Analysis Of Representative Cases, Jonathan B. Wiener, Brendon Swedlow, Denise Kall, Zheng Zhou, James K. Hammitt

Faculty Scholarship

This article provides a framework and offers strategies for theorizing and generalizing about risk assessment and regulation developed in the context of an on-going comparative study of regulatory behavior. Construction of a universe of nearly 3,000 risks and study of a random sample of 100 of these risks allowed us to estimate relative U.S. and European regulatory precaution over a thirty-five-year period. Comparative nested analysis of cases selected from this universe of ecological, health, safety, and other risks or its eighteen categories or ninety-two subcategories of risk sources or causes will allow theory-testing and -building and many further ...


Markets, Systemic Risk, And The Subprime Mortgage Crisis, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2008

Markets, Systemic Risk, And The Subprime Mortgage Crisis, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

The recent subprime mortgage meltdown is undermining financial market stability and has the potential to cause a true systemic breakdown, collapsing the world's financial systems like a row of dominoes. This essay uses the subprime crisis to demonstrate that existing protections against systemic risk, which focus on banks and largely ignore financial markets, are anachronistic and misguided. Because companies increasingly access financial markets without going through banks, an effective framework for containing systemic risk must focus on markets.


Risk Equity: A New Proposal, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2008

Risk Equity: A New Proposal, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Policy Analysis For Natural Hazards: Some Cautionary Lessons From Environmental Policy Analysis, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2007

Policy Analysis For Natural Hazards: Some Cautionary Lessons From Environmental Policy Analysis, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Why De Minimis?, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2007

Why De Minimis?, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

De minimis cutoffs are a familiar feature of risk regulation. This includes the quantitative individual risk thresholds for fatality risks employed in many contexts by EPA, FDA, and other agencies, such as the 1-in-1 million lifetime cancer risk cutoff; extreme event cutoffs for addressing natural hazards, such as the 100 - year - flood or 475 - year - earthquake; de minimis failure probabilities for built structures; the exclusion of low - probability causal models; and other policymaking criteria. All these tests have a common structure, as I show in the Article. A de minimis test, broadly defined, tells the decisionmaker to determine whether the ...


Against “Individual Risk”: A Sympathetic Critique Of Risk Assessment, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2005

Against “Individual Risk”: A Sympathetic Critique Of Risk Assessment, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Fear Assessment: Cost-Benefit Analysis And The Pricing Of Fear And Anxiety, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2004

Fear Assessment: Cost-Benefit Analysis And The Pricing Of Fear And Anxiety, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

Risk assessment is now a common feature of regulatory practice, but fear assessment is not. In particular, environmental, health and safety agencies such as EPA, FDA, OSHA, NHTSA, and CPSC, commonly count death, illness and injury as costs for purposes of cost-benefit analysis, but almost never incorporate fear, anxiety or other welfare-reducing mental states into the analysis. This is puzzling, since fear and anxiety are welfare setbacks, and since the very hazards regulated by these agencies - air or water pollutants, toxic waste dumps, food additives and contaminants, workplace toxins and safety threats, automobiles, dangerous consumer products, radiation, and so on ...


Fear Assessment: Cost-Benefit Analysis And The Pricing Of Fear And Anxiety, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2004

Fear Assessment: Cost-Benefit Analysis And The Pricing Of Fear And Anxiety, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.