Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit

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Princeton University Press, 2014 - Business & Economics - 570 pages

"A seminal political economy analysis of why banking varies so much across countries, with such profound consequences for economic development and social welfare. Not just fascinating and original, but also right."--James Robinson, author of Why Nations Fail

"A monumental intellectual and scholarly achievement that will shape thinking on finance and politics for decades to come. A book for the ages, whose insights are delivered in a lively, punchy, and nontechnical narrative."--Ross Levine, University of California, Berkeley

"A major contribution to our understanding of banking, showing why nations need banks, why banks need the state, and how the quality of banking depends on how the 'Game of Bank Bargains' is played between politicians, bankers, and a penumbra of key protagonists."--Charles Goodhart, London School of Economics and Political Science

"What explains the dramatic variation across countries in the extent, structure, regulation, and fragility of banking? Calomiris and Haber provide a tour de force resolution of the question. Their answer: politics. Fragile by Design's synthesis is shockingly original and convincing."--Darrell Duffie, Stanford University

"A remarkably detailed account of the sources of banking and financial failure under different institutional rules. A masterful achievement and a must-read for banking scholars, analysts, and regulators."--Allan Meltzer, author of A History of the Federal Reserve

"Fragile by Design bristles with insights about how conflicting private interests, intermediated through political institutions, have sometimes produced banking and social insurance arrangements that make financial crises much more likely than they should be."--Thomas Sargent, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"Why do America's banks go bust so often? Fragile by Design draws back the veil that hides the murky world where politics and big money meet, and exposes the surprising truth--that the banks were built to fail. Read, learn, and keep your cash close at hand!"--Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules--for Now

"Fragile by Design explains why the U.S. banking crisis of 2007-2009 is no aberration, but only the latest episode of a populist bargain gone awry. This is a powerful entry in the debate on how to fix the postcrisis world."--Raghuram Rajan, author of Fault Lines

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About the author (2014)

Charles W. Calomiris is the Henry Kaufman Professor of Financial Institutions at Columbia Business School and a professor at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. His many books include "U.S. Bank Deregulation in Historical Perspective". Stephen H. Haber is the A. A. and Jeanne Welch Milligan Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His many books include "The Politics of Property Rights".

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