Benn Steil


A graphical take on geoeconomic issues, with links to the news and expert commentary.

Bailout Failure

by Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Markets had their worst day since the 1987 crash following the House vote to reject Paulson’s rescue plan. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury are expected to hold things together through greater easing and the expansion of the Federal Reserve balance sheet while political maneuvering blocks an explicit plan for the time being. The articles below discuss the consequences of this vote and the options left for the Fed and Treasury going forward. Read more »

Wall Street Bailout

by Friday, September 26, 2008

The charts above put the size of Paulson’s $700 billion rescue plan into perspective. Given that $700 billion is small relative to the total assets of all FDIC insured institutions, the design of the bailout will be at least as important as the size. Government money may have more impact if it is used to bolster banks’ capital rather than to bolster their assets. The following articles capture some of the debates around the bailout plan. Read more »

Proposals for Wall Street

by Monday, September 22, 2008

As the graph above indicates, the markets’ perception of the risk of failure increased following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. The Wall Street crisis has demonstrated the need for a systematic solution rather than case-by-case bailouts. Secretary Paulson has responded with a plan to create a $700 billion fund to buy up troubled assets from banks. The articles below discuss the risks involved and propose alternative solutions. Read more »

Sovereign Wealth Funds and Transparency

by Monday, September 15, 2008

As the graph above indicates, there is a clear correlation between ‘democracy’ and ‘sovereign fund transparency’. However, the composition of countries with sovereign funds is shifting toward large, poor, and often autocratic countries whose interests are less aligned with the U.S. The articles below discuss how policymakers can act to address the transparency and security concerns raised by the growth of sovereign wealth funds. Read more »

Emergence of State Capitalism

by Monday, September 8, 2008

After years of celebrating the triumph of market capitalism, many of its advocates today are troubled by the emergence of ‘state capitalism’, particularly in the form of sovereign wealth funds. How should liberal capitalism respond when autocracy is the highest bidder? Is autocratic ownership dangerous to economic robustness? Read more »