Law & Banking/Finance Web Seminar Series: Michael Ohlrogge (NYU School of Law)

When:16 June 2020
, 15:00
 - 16:00

Jointly organized by Financial Regulation Lab (LabEx ReFi), the New York University (NYU), the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE (SAFE) and the Center for Advanced Studies on the Foundations of Law and Finance (LawFin). The Web Seminar Series takes place weekly from June 2 until August 2,  2020, every Tuesday at 3 p.m.


Title: Testing the Crisis-Legislation Hypothesis: Citation Indexing and the Measurement of Legislative Importance

Speaker: Michael Ohlrogge (NYU School of Law) joint with Peter Conti-Brown (Wharton School)


Scholars frequently assert that financial legislation in the U.S. - both legislation that affects capital markets and the banking system - is invariably crisis-driven. This ‘crisis legislation hypothesis’ is often cited as an explanation for various supposed shortcomings of US financial legislation, including that it is ill-conceived, inadequate to the problems it aims to address, and subject to political manipulation. Despite the prevalence of the crisis legislation hypothesis, however, its threshold assumption - that Congress passes major financial legislation only when crises arise - has never been analyzed empirically. This article provides that analysis. We first devise a new system for systematically assessing legislative importance based on the notion of citation indexing, the principal at the heart of algorithms used by modern search engines such as Google. Using a suite of legislative importance metrics, we show that the crisis legislation hypothesis fits strongly for securities laws, but far less so for banking legislation.

Download the paper (pdf)

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