Subprime Spillover: An Expert Panel Discussion

Oct 03, 2007
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


Gary Richardson
Professor of Economics
George Mason University

Joseph Mason
Professor of Economics
Drexel University

Scott Susin
Economist, Office of  Systemic Investigations
US Department of Housing & Urban Development

Earlier this year, investor's concerns over sub-prime lending brought an abrupt end to the decade's unprecedented housing boom. Many on Wall Street, and throughout the world, were soon wondering if the mortgage lending market's problems would spill over into the greater financial sector. After weeks of turbulent stock prices and central bank interventions, both at home and abroad, the answer now seems all too clear.

How has one sector in the enormous United States economy had such an impact on worldwide financial markets? Financiers and government officials worry about the effects of having highly leveraged, nontransparent hedge funds so heavily invested in this risky sector. Others wonder how we can better calm "irrational exuberance," as former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan put it, in order to prevent future instability.

In order to take a closer look at the economics of the current situation, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host a special panel featuring three distinguished financial experts. The panel will aim to address general questions regarding what is happening and what can be done, as well as specific questions, such as:

  • Who is to blame for the current financial woes?
  • Can more oversight or transparency of hedge funds and lenders save the market from future bubbles?
  • Could the Federal Reserve Board have stopped this crisis before it occurred?
  • Should the government bail out either the lenders or the homeowners who cannot make their housing payments?