Teaching macro: Mishkin and Iceland and “Inside Job”

“Inside Job” filmmaker Charles Ferguson replied to Mishkin:

First, Prof Mishkin alleges that I focused exclusively on his report on Iceland. But in an interview in September 2009 lasting more than an hour, and for which I can supply both video and transcript, I asked Prof Mishkin about his general views of the financial crisis and its causes, his 2006 report Financial Stability In Iceland, his activities as a governor of the Federal Reserve Board, his post-crisis views on issues ranging from financial reform to the growing inequality of income and wealth in the US and his consulting activities since returning to Columbia University.Prof Mishkin suggests that his 2006 report on Iceland identified various systemic risks, that the majority of bad behaviour in Iceland’s financial system occurred afterwards, and that Iceland’s real risks were unknowable. At the time he wrote his report, Iceland’s banking system had already borrowed $50bn, more than four times Iceland’s gross domestic product, in the preceding five years Iceland’s Financial Supervisory Authority had a total of 40 employees, including clerical staff, to monitor all of the country’s financial companies and markets, including banking, investing, and insurance and during the bubble about a third of these regulators departed to work for the banks. Prof Mishkin’s report does not mention this.Moreover, Prof Mishkin writes in his article: “The filmmaker made insinuations that I didn’t disclose that I was compensated for the study – even though he learned the precise amount of the fee in 2006 from a public disclosure that I made.”However, Prof Mishkin did not disclose in the report that he was paid to write it. Indeed, one of the most disturbing things I learned in making Inside Job, an issue discussed in the film, is that US universities do not require disclosure of financial conflicts of interest by faculty members, place no limits on the sources and size of professors’ outside income, and do not collect information on the size of this income. The only reason we now know of Prof Mishkin’s payment for the Iceland report is that he was later forced to disclose it when he was appointed to the US Federal Reserve Board.

via The director of ‘Inside Job’ replies | Economists’ Forum.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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