The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act: Myth and Reality

The Glass-Steagall Act was enacted in 1933 in response to banking crises in the 1920s and early 1930s. It imposed the separation of commercial and investment banking. In 1999, Glass-Steagall was partially repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. When the United States suffered a severe financial crisis less than a decade later, some leapt to the conclusion that this repeal was at least partly to blame. Indeed, both the Republicans and the Democrats included the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall in their 2016 election platforms. In a new study, international financial regulatory expert Oonagh McDonald argues that the notion that repealing Glass-Steagall caused the financial crisis, and that bringing it back would prevent future crises, is not supported by the facts.

New York’s Bank: The National Monetary Commission and the Founding of the Fed

Legislation calling for the establishment of a Centennial Monetary Commission “to examine the United States monetary policy, evaluate alternative monetary regimes, and recommend a course for monetary policy going forward,” was introduced in both the House and the Senate in 2015. Prompted by the subprime financial crisis, and particularly by a belief that the crisis revealed significant shortcomings of the Federal Reserve System, the Centennial Monetary Commission plan draws inspiration from the National Monetary Commission convened over a century ago. In a new paper, Cato scholar George Selgin reviews the earlier Monetary Commission’s origins, organization, and shortcomings, in order to suggest how a new commission might improve upon it.

A Walk Through the JOBS Act of 2012: Deregulation in the Wake of Financial Crisis

Unexpectedly, in 2011, Congress passed the Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups Act, or JOBS Act of 2012. The legislation rolled back regulations on the financial sector, with the aim of making it easier for small businesses to access capital. New Internet based funding vehicles, such as crowdfunding, helped small businesses overcome hurdles, leaving regulations as the major obstacle. But while the JOBS Act has done some good, it is not perfect. In a new policy analysis, Cato scholar Thaya Brook Knight examines the JOBS Act and if it can serve as a template for future reform.

Cato Studies

Of Special Note

The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act: Myth and Reality

The Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act: Myth and Reality

The Glass-Steagall Act was enacted in 1933 in response to banking crises in the 1920s and early 1930s. It imposed the separation of commercial and investment banking. In 1999, Glass-Steagall was partially repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. When the United States suffered a severe financial crisis less than a decade later, some leapt to the conclusion that this repeal was at least partly to blame. In a new study, international financial regulatory expert Oonagh McDonald argues that the notion that repealing Glass-Steagall caused the financial crisis, and that bringing it back would prevent future crises, is not supported by the facts.

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Multimedia

2016 Hayek Lecture

George Selgin gave the Institute of Economic Affairs 2016 Hayek Lecture, discussing the history of free banking systems that achieved financial and price stability.

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Educational Programs

EconTalk LIVE: David Beckworth on Monetary Policy and the Great Recession

The Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives is pleased to announce another installment of its “live” edition of EconTalk. Join Russ Roberts as he interviews David Beckworth on the part that the Federal Reserve and other central banks played (and the part they ought to have played) in the Great Recession.

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34th Annual Monetary Conference

The lack of any monetary rule to guide policy decisions has created great uncertainty and increased financial volatility. Zero or negative interest rates and quantitative easing have created severe distortions in asset markets by increasing risk taking and politicizing credit allocation while failing to bring about robust economic growth. At Cato’s annual monetary conference, leading experts addressed the risks inherent in the unconventional monetary policies of the world’s leading central banks and the steps that need to be taken to restore long-run economic growth.