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The thesis argues that the the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 was not a leading cause of the 2008 Financial Crisis but did contribute to its scope. It finds that the American economy was already on track before the repeal for a late-2000s financial crisis due to sectoral imbalances as well as the rise of money manager capitalism during the decades before the repeal. However, the repeal contributed to the "legitimization" of financial holding companies and originate-to-distribute model, spreading toxic assets around the financial sector and exposing depositors to this risk during a time of rapidly increasing banking sector concentration. If the Glass-Steagall Act was not repealed, there is reason to believe that the federal government would not have needed to take the large steps it did to save the financial sector. The analysis comes from an institutionalist economic perspective, an interdisciplinary approach focused on exploring how the evolutionary process and institutional changes shape economic behavior.
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Shapiro, Eli C., "Financial Alcoholism: An Institutionalist Analysis of the Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and 2008 Financial Crisis" (2023). Senior Projects Spring 2023. 129.
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