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Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007 (Financial Management Association Survey and Synthesis) Hardcover – March 8, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Financial Management Association Survey and Synthesis
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3rd Printing edition (March 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199734151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199734153
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Think you know what caused the collapse of Wall Street? Gary Gorton, the Sherlock Holmes of the financial crisis, has news for you."--Robert Hahn, Founder of the AEI Center for Regulatory and Market Studies


"Slapped by the Invisible Hand is essential to understanding the deep weakness in the banking sector that led to the financial crisis. Like consumer banks before the Great Depression, the 'shadow banking market' is vulnerable to runs and panics and hysteria, and we are all, in turn, vulnerable to it. By looking beyond this financial crisis to the systemic flaws that make us vulnerable to all sorts of crises, Gary Gorton has created a necessary guidebook for what's happened, and what needs to be done."--Ezra Klein, Washington Post


"Gorton has produced the clearest account yet of what has happened...Slapped By the Invisible Hand is not a conventional retrospective. Instead it is a real-time chronicle of what the authorities were told at key points in the drama by a practitioner who was steeped in the history of banking as well...it is a major contribution."--David Warsh, Economic Principals


"Provides a lucid framework for understanding the crisis truly substantive Slapped deserves an audience of more than just crisis connoisseurs."--Barron's


"It's must-reading for anyone who wants to understand the recent economic unpleasantness."--Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress


"Fascinating for anyone interested in the crisis, or in banking and finance more generally, this is absolutely essential reading."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution, Professor of Economics at George Mason University


"Slapped by the Invisible Hand tells us that there were bank panics--systemic crises--in 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, 1896, 1907, and 1914. On the other hand, there were no systemic crises from 1934 to 2007. The problem, as Gorton makes clear, is that the Quiet Period reflected a combination of deposit insurance and strong regulation-undermined by the rise of shadow banking. So we have a choice: restore effective regulation or go back to the bad old days."--Paul Krugman, New York Times "Conscience of a Liberal"


"Gary Gorton has written an important book, one that clearly identifies the issues surrounding the recent financial crisis and separates them from the ongoing macroeconomic policy turmoil....quite an accomplishment, given that many of us are still trying to figure out happened in earlier panics and crises.... By narrowly focusing on the events and institutions of the Panic of 2007, how the economy got to where it is today becomes much clearer."--EH.net


"Offers the most coherent and convincing account of the recent financial crisis that I have seen, stressing its essential similarity to historical banking panics. Gorton's analysis leads to operational proposals for a regulatory environment that would be consistent with a safe, closely regulated banking system and with continued innovation in other financial services."--Robert Lucas, University of Chicago, Nobel laureate in economics


"To understand the actual moment and mechanism of crisis, the definitive take is Yale economist Gary Gorton's, in the delightfully titled Slapped by the Invisible Hand. Gorton's is a challenging book for a non-finance type, but there is no better technical explanation of the panic." --Slate.com


"Essential reading for anyone who wants to know what really happened in the world financial meltdown of 2007-08. Gorton writes with a wide grasp of financial history and a detailed understanding of complex areas such as the repo market. This book deserves to be read widely."--Bill Bradley, Former United States Senator


"Think about it. If porcine greed, by itself, is enough to crash the financial sector, why doesn't Wall Street crash every year? For that matter, why should the crash of the subprime market result in a recession so much worse than the one that followed, say, the dotcom bubble? To answer these questions, you should read [this] book. --National Post


"An indispensable and insightful guide to the origins and the mechanics of the financial crisis. If you want to be among those who understand what happened and what should be done you must read Slapped by the Invisible Hand." --Peter R. Fisher, BlackRock and former Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Domestic Finance


"Gary Gorton's Slapped by the Invisible Hand perceptively explains how the financial crisis of 2008 was actually a crisis of 2007 and provides an essential historical context. It needs to be read by all who seek to shape our future policies."--H. Rodgin Cohen, Chairman, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP


"This is the best book on the crisis what makes this book a winner is that [Gorton] lays bare the root cause of the crisis." --David Merkel, CFA - Finacorp Securities, Aleph Blog


"Gorton comes to the table with long experience in the study of financial bubbles: he offers a challenging analysis of the late meltdown as a classic bank panic in modern dress." --John D. Ayer, UC Davis Professor of Law Emeritus


"Scholars like Gorton do not get enough attention as we try to understand what caused the crisis and how to prevent a repeat he is one of the people that will play an important role in shaping reform." --TheStreet.com


"Gorton, an authority on financial panics, argues convincingly that our most recent unpleasantness is not so different from earlier monetary disasters. The big change is that this one didn't involve runs on your neighborhood 'retail' banks, but was a 'wholesale' crisis that came close to destroying the huge, unregulated network of brokerage houses that trade esoteric securities largely with each other. He believes that we must understand what caused the crisis before we can take steps to prevent another, similar crash in the very near future. His book is a guide to learning those lessons." --Internet Review of Books


"The definitive history of the 2007 meltdown." -The Electric Review


About the Author


Gary B. Gorton is the Frederick Frank Class of 1954 Professor of Management and Finance at the Yale School of Management, and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He formerly taught at the Wharton School for twenty-four years and worked in the Federal Reserve System. He is also a former consultant to AIG Financial Products, where he worked on credit derivatives and commodity futures for over ten years.

More About the Author

Gary B. Gorton is the Frederick Frank Class of 1954 Professor of Management and Finance at the Yale School of Management, and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He formerly taught at the Wharton School for twenty-four years and worked in the Federal Reserve System. He is also a former consultant to AIG Financial Products, where he worked on credit derivatives and commodity futures for over ten years.

Customer Reviews

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There are many good books on the financial crisis.
Gaetan Lion
Most of the book simply is a compilation of three previously-published papers, which may be read separately, if one prefers.
W. D ONEIL
He points out why repurchase agreement failed as an alternative to government guarantees but goes no further.
EWC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By EWC on May 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Gorton has made an important contribution to the debate on the Financial Crisis (and I was eager to read his book because of it). He argues that government guarantees of retail deposits enacted in the 1930s, and not capital adequacy requirements, (temporarily) ended previously common panicked withdrawals from the entire banking system. As uninsured short-term institutional deposits have grown and become the primary source of funds for money center banking, it was just a matter of time before these runs began anew. But the book just about starts and ends there. At a critical junctures like ours, the country needs clear thinkers like Gorton to provide leadership by addressing the issues comprehensively, speaking out against demagoguery and making recommendations. Otherwise, why step to the microphone with a book instead of the papers he already published? Gordon scarcely draws conclusions and makes no substantial recommendations!

He points out why repurchase agreement failed as an alternative to government guarantees but goes no further. He shows (in many pages of unnecessary detail) that structured finance contributed to the difficulty of knowing how much (sub-prime) risk each bank held but he doesn't analyze whether credit default swaps and flawed credit ratings also contributed to the confusion. Nor does he show that the value of withdrawing funds to reduce risk in fear of others doing likewise wouldn't have occurred no matter the availability of information. He admits that better information likely would not have solved the problem but he offers no alternatives.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on January 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
There are many good books on the financial crisis. For an excellent survey on the topic I recommend the paper "Reading About the Financial Crisis: A 21-Book Review by Andrew Lo." These authors typically espouse Irving Fisher's early The Debt-Deflation Theory of Great Depressions. They address moral hazard with distorted economic incentives. Creditors lent too much to seek short-term profits ignoring long term risk. Borrowers borrowed too much leading to an amount of debt they possibly could not repay. And, when borrowers could not refinance their mortgages; the ensuing defaults and foreclosures impaired the balance sheet of their creditors. In turn, creditors did not trust each other ability to repay their liabilities. And, the financial system shut down.

Gorton's book is interesting because it offers a different crisis theory. For Gorton, it was all about information. Gorton is very qualified to expand on his theory. He has been a finance professor at top business schools for over two decades (Yale, Wharton). He worked for the Federal Reserve. And, most relevant he was involved in structuring synthetic credit portfolios for AIG.

Gorton's disinformation theory has several building blocks. They include: 1) subprime mortgages; 2) mortgage backed securities (MBS); 3) collaterized debt obligations (CDOs); and 4) special investment vehicles (SIVs). Those building blocks consist of a time bomb (1), an information shredder (2, 3, 4), and a collapse of trust (4).

Bank of America innovated the first subprime mortgage back in 1998. It offered a lower fixed rate for the first two years that would adjust upward at two years.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on May 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an investment banker/mortgage trader and have been poring through the many books on the recession. MOST, concern subprime mortgages or reaction to the financial meltdown. This book is the printing of three research papers with wrapped analysis around those papers so calling it a book is somewhat of a stretch. Pretty short book to write since you are just using your previously written material. But what makes this book GREAT is its clinically written analysis of the cause of our banking panic. Instead of describing what happened as so many other books have, this clinical paper puts the recession/disruption in the terms of comparison to other bank runs. Now this wouldn't seem normal as I doubt the majority of working people would define this disruption as a bank run. Yes, Wamu and IndieMac may have had quick drops in deposits. But our real liquidity problems happened outside government guaranteed depository institutions. Rather the exotic security market became severely disrupted and the highly leveraged investment banks, whose debt was basically short commercial paper, could not roll over their paper. This is why the government had to step in, to protect the commercial paper market and our banking industry which supplies the leverage that runs our country.

This book raises the theme of the substantial change in banking, the shadow banking system, and shows that its importance and fragile nature, which had for so long been ignored, was the major cause of the recession and the "new" bank run. It's a well documented book and worthy of reading. But not without flaws. For example, as mentioned earlier, it's really three research papers. No problem, but one of them veers far from the tenet of the book and is actually an analysis of private label securitization structure.
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