Summer reading: VoxEU Roundup 2

Barcelona GSE Focus

Researchers in the Barcelona GSE community have written several widely-read articles on CEPR’s policy portal, VoxEU. In case you missed them, here is a roundup of articles from Spring/Summer 2016.


Articles are listed in chronological order from oldest to most recent.

Regulatory sanctions and reputational damage in financial markets

John Armour, Colin Mayer, Andrea Polo

Following the Global Crisis, regulators around the world have shown a greater commitment to investigating and sanctioning corporate wrongdoers. This column argues that fines are only one (surprisingly small) component of the overall sanctions available to regulators. Reputational sanctions are, for some categories of misconduct, far more potent than direct penalties.

Double bank runs, liquidity risk management, and Basel III

Filippo Ippolito, José-Luis Peydró, Andrea Polo, Enrico Sette

By providing liquidity to credit line borrowers and depositors, banks are potentially exposed to simultaneous runs on their assets and liabilities. This risk became a reality when the European interbank market froze in the summer of 2007. This column discusses the risk of double-bank runs, liquidity risk management by banks and the implications for the regulation of the financial sector, in particular Basel III. In 2007, banks with a larger exposure to the interbank market suffered a spike in drawdowns on their outstanding credit lines to firms, and were effectively exposed to a ‘double-run’. Importantly, this fragility was mitigated by active pre-crisis liquidity risk management by banks.

The perverse effect of preferential rules of origins

Paola Conconi, Manuel García Santana, Laura Puccio, Roberto Venturini

One of the more pernicious barriers to trade in today’s world are so-called ‘rules of origin’ that should help customs officers determine a product’s origin, but often serve to raise the cost of importing. In practice, such rules prevent final producers from choosing the most efficient input suppliers around the world. This column investigates the impact of rules of origin in the world’s largest free trade agreement, NAFTA, on imports of intermediate goods from non-member countries. The findings show that preferential rules of origin in FTAs can violate GATT rules by substantially increasing the level of protection faced by non-members.

Public development banks: A new perspective

Marcela Eslava, Xavier Freixas

Public development banks play a significant role in the allocation of credit to businesses that may be unable to attain credit under normal circumstances, despite generating positive externalities. But there is concern that lending by these institutions may end up being allocated inefficiently. This column considers the costly screening that banks must do to allocate funds. It finds that the inefficient allocation of credit may arise when banks are unable to fully internalise the benefits of possible projects. Direct lending and the implementation of subsidies for intermediated lending are two possible ways to counter expensive screening.

Social media and corruption

Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, Konstantin Sonin

In addition to the traditional mass media, social media has become a channel through which citizens can hold public officials and corporate leaders to account. But social media commentators can be vulnerable to manipulation and reputational damage. This column uses data on a popular blogger in Russia to show that blogs are critical of corruption in state-controlled companies can lead to decreased profit diversion and corruption by the targeted companies. Social media appears to play an important role in improving accountability, particularly when traditional media is censored or political competition is limited.

Conflict and development

Debraj Ray, Joan-Maria Esteban

Since 1950, more than half of the world’s countries have experienced situations of civil war. In this video, Debraj Ray and Joan Esteban discuss their research on the impact of conflict on economic development. In order to design the best possible institutions to cope with conflict, we need to understand the drivers of these conflicts. The video was recorded during the conference on “Economic Development and Institutions” held in Paris in June 2016.

Gender gaps in performance among high-skilled professionals

Ghazala Azmat, Rosa Ferrer

Gender gaps in earnings exist in high-skill industries despite male and female workers having similar educational backgrounds. This column uses evidence from the legal industry to assess how performance affects career outcomes across genders. Performance gaps, defined by hours billed and new revenue raised, explain a substantial share of the gender gaps in earnings, as women’s working hours are affected by having young children while those of men are not. An important implication is that gender-based inequality in earnings and career outcomes might not decrease in the near future as more high-skilled workers are explicitly compensated based on performance.


Original photo by ferny71