Friday, March 27, 2009

Krugman on financial risk-taking

Today Paul Krugman points out a subtle point regarding improvements in financial markets' ability to diversify risk, through things like credit default swaps, etc. While hedging is often touting as spreading risk more evenly and reducing exposure, in fact it can also induce behavioral change. Namely toward more financial risk-taking, which may appear to be cheaper.

It's not clear to me that high-flying finance is anywhere near a thing of the past, as I think his column suggests. But I would agree that the events of the past several years certainly call for a reassessment of how we measure and manage risk.