The political economy of financial regulation

Abstract : This dissertation contributes to the thriving literature in regulatory capture deepening our understanding of both cognitive and information capture along multiple lines. In chapter 1, I develop a theoretical model to analyze the difficult trade-off faced by politicians when delegating the regulation of the financial service industry. The model shows that the principal trades off the superior knowledge of the financial experts against their regulatory bias in favor of the regulated industry. Where the principal comes down on this trade-off depends on how complex the regulatory area is, and on how intense the industry’s preferences are. In chapter 2, I define precise indicators of regulatory capture and construct a data set of 42 agencies that allow me to evaluate the expectations of the model. My results show that the race to sophistication and the powers of financial lobbies seem to have influenced agency design: financial regulators better prevent information capture than cognitive capture. In chapter 3, I test two competing hypotheses to explain the disparities in agencies design: political explanations versus historical and culture explanations. I show that agencies’ level of independence and accountability is explained by the credible commitment hypothesis. This hypothesis however fails to explain agencies level of integrity, appearing commonly low.
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Mathilde Poulain. The political economy of financial regulation. Economies and finances. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018PA01E001⟩. ⟨tel-01904971⟩

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