The prisoner’s dilemma, it seems, is still a profitable mine in economic academia.
A couple of researchers at the New York Fed are out with a new paper on capital controls. In it, conventional wisdom (and the aforementioned dilemma) proves right and the contrarian view, dating from the Asian financial crisis 15 years ago, wrong. Read more »
The Fed has three basic functions: central banking, bank regulation, and calling down police brutality on Occupy Wall Street protesters. While the first function is getting all the attention today, the New York Fed’s blog is spending some time on the second. Specifically, they’re trying to figure out how bankers should get paid.
Optimal design of banker compensation is a thing that people like to think about, and that regulators like to regulate. We’ve talked about it before, and I’ve suggested that the right way to reward bankers is not to give them mostly equity or extra-levered equity, which encourages asymmetric risk-taking, but rather to give them exposure to their firm that roughly matches that of their main stakeholders. Which, for a bank, means basically various flavors of creditors. So a bank CEO whose net worth consists 20% of equity of his firm and 80% of unsecured debt of his firm, like Brian Moynihan, in theory has better incentives to do the right thing by bondholders, depositors and the financial system than someone who’s 100% in out-of-the-money stock options. And a banker who is paid in structured credit products that can’t be foisted on to clients has incentives … well, he’s an interesting case study at least.
I like the NY Fed researcher-bloggers because they’re pretty sober people who want to optimize banking regulation but don’t spend their time freaking out about stupid popular things like how CDS will kill us all, banning short selling, or just generally hating on bankers. So I’m pleased to see NY Fed researcher Hamid Mehran is with me on this whole comp thing: Read more »
The Fed is funny. Not Bernanke-funny but getting there. That whole controversy about them pushing AIG not to disclose some information, especially regarding its counterparties and how much money they got? Well, it wasn’t that they refused to make the appropriate disclosures, but rather that they were trying to be accurate, hence edited some data. Oh, and also, blame it on the lawyers.
Some have also suggested that the FRBNY pressured AIG not to make required disclosures about material elements of the Maiden Lane III transactions, including that the counterparties received par value. This is also incorrect. It appears that this assertion is based, at least in part, on a misreading of emails among lawyers for the FRBNY and AIG.
Remember that story yesterday, about how then NY Fed Chair Tim Geithner and his staff maybe instructed AIG to keep its payments to banks hush-hush, as backed up by emails? Never happened, says New York Fed’s general counsel. He has no idea what any of you are talking about. In fact, he’s never even heard of this Tim Geithner guy. What’s he like?
“Matters of AIG securities law disclosure were not brought to the attention of the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,” Thomas Baxter, the New York Fed’s general counsel, said in a statement.
The U.S. Treasury and White House also have said Geithner was not involved in any e-mailed discussions between New York Fed and AIG lawyers over disclosures of the insurer’s payments to banks.