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No Slack: The Financial Lives of Low-Income Americans Hardcover – April 13, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

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"It is so nice to have Michael Barr back in academia, where he has resumed his scholarly research into the challenge of providing affordable financial services for the poor. In this book, he vividly illustrates that while the hidden fees and surprise charges embedded in so many financial products irritate and annoy us, for those with 'no slack' they can have devastating financial consequences. There has got to be a better way, and Barr has devoted his career to finding it."—Sheila Bair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation



"It is inspiring to see such a thoughtful analysis of the deep financial problems that make life miserable for so many people, and to see that many of these problems can be solved with suitable behaviorally informed financial innovations. Barr faces the real subtlety and complexity of the problems that leave so many people with no slack."—Robert Shiller, Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics, Yale University



"In many respects the American economy is too financialized. But as Michael Barr highlights in this important book, millions lack access to basic financial services and protections. Barr draws on his unmatched combination of academic expertise and policy experience to define the challenge and suggest ways to meet it. This book deserves to be an important part of any discussion of the future of the financial sector or the prospects for low-income Americans."—Lawrence H. Summers, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, president emeritus and the Charles W. Eliot Professor, Harvard University

About the Author

Michael S. Barr is a professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School and a nonresident senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. In 2009–10 he served as assistant secretary for financial institutions with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and he was a key architect of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

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No Slack: The Financial Lives of Low-Income Americans
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