Gerald Epstein

Professor of Economics
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Gerald Epstein is Professor of Economics and a founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He received his PhD in Economics from Princeton University in 1981.  Epstein has written articles on numerous topics including financial regulation, alternative approaches to central banking for employment generation and poverty reduction, and capital account management and capital flows. He has worked with numerous UN organizations, including the United Nations Development Program and the International Labor Organization in the areas of Pro-Poor Macroeconomic Policy and Human Development Impact Assessments of Trade Policies in Madagascar, South Africa, Ghana, Cambodia and Mongolia, and with UN-DESA on developing alternatives to inflation targeting monetary policy. Most recently his research has focused on the impacts of financialization (Gerald Epstein, ed. Financialization and the World Economy, Elgar Press, 2005) and alternatives to inflation targeting (Gerald Epstein and Erinc Yeldan, eds. Beyond Inflation Targeting: Assessing the Impacts and Policy Alternatives, Elgar Press, 2009.)

My Content

This paper empirically examines the effects of the Federal Reserve's Large Scale Asset Purchases (LSAP) on bank profits. We use a new dataset on individual LSAP transactions and bank holding company data from the Fed's FRY-9C regulatory reports to construct a large panel of banks for 2008Q1 to 2009Q4. Our results suggest that banks that sold Mortgage-backed Securities to the Fed (“treatment banks”) experienced economically and statistically significant increases in profitability after controlling for common determinants of bank performance. Banks heavily “exposed” to MBS purchases should also experience increases in profitability through asset appreciation.

My Video Content

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About the Interview

We all know it: The financial sector is bloated and banks are too big to fail. But just how bloated is it, and how much should it be shrunk? Gerald Epstein and his collaborator James Crotty use both micro and macro data to deliver the numbers. They build on James Tobin's concept of functional efficiency to separate the financial sector's beneficial activities (mobilizing savings, financing investment, and reducing risk) from its socially inefficient activities (gambling, and distorting the political process). An empirical study that is full of institutional detail and addresses the elephant in the room: big banks and regulatory capture -- this is new economic thinking.

My Grants

Gerald Epstein of University of Massachusetts Amherst was awarded a grant by the Institute for New Economic Thinking to study, with the collaboration of his colleague James Crotty, the impacts of financial regulations on functionally efficient finance, productivity growth and income distribution.