No Stress: The flaws in the Bank of England’s stress testing programme

In 2014, the Bank of England commenced a stress testing programme in an effort to test the capital adequacy of major UK-based banks. It concluded that its results demonstrated the resilience of the banking system. No Stress, a report from the Adam Smith Institute, suggests that we should be extremely sceptical of the Bank’s conclusions.

The report sees Kevin Dowd, Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, professor of finance and economics at Durham University, and author of three books, ten book chapters, and dozens of journal articles on risk modelling, present a powerful and rigorous indictment of the Bank’s stress testing programme.

Dowd makes the case that the stress tests are significantly methodologically flawed and worse than useless, giving policymakers unreliable information about the strength of the UK banking system, providing false risk comfort, and creating systemic instability by forcing banks to converge towards the Bank of England’s models.

For these reasons and more, he concludes that we should end regulatory risk modelling and re-establish strong bank governance systems that make decision-makers personally liable for the risks they take.

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The Collected Economic Nonsense

In his latest series of blogs, the Adam Smith Institute’s President, Dr Madsen Pirie took aim at 50 of the most prevalent and pernicious falsehoods about economics. Read them all here in this collection of all 50 pieces.

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The Real Problem Was Nominal: The Crash of 2008

Prof. Scott Sumner, who inspired the US programme of QE3 and was dubbed ‘the blogger who saved the US economy’ by The Atlantic, explains how central banks—not bankers—caused the 2007-8 crash. He goes on further, showing how the European Central Bank is repeating the mistakes the Fed and the Bank of England made in the dark days. And he argues that they can solve the slump and prevent future crises with a market-based, rule-based, stability-focused monetary policy of targeting the level of  nominal GDP.

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Quids In: How sterlingization and free banking could help Scotland flourish

An independent Scotland using the pound outside of a currency union would have a more stable financial system and economy than it has now or than a currency union could provide, argues Sam Bowman. ‘Adaptive sterlingization’ – a combined policy of unilateral use of GBP without a formal currency union and reform of Scottish banking regulations – would reduce risk-taking and increase competition in banking, significantly reducing the prospect of large-scale bank panics and financial crises. The ‘dollarized’ economies of Latin America – Panama, Ecuador and El Salvador – provide strong modern-day evidence that banking systems do better without central lenders of last resort.

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The life and legacy of Ronald Coase

The great economist Ronald Coase has died at the age of 103. Vuk Vukovic explains what made Coase such an influential and profound thinker.

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