Many observers have argued the regulatory framework in place prior to the global financial crisis was deficient because it was largely “microprudential” in nature (Crockett, 2000; Borio, Furfine, and Lowe, 2001; Borio, 2003; Kashyap and Stein, 2004; Kashyap, Rajan, and Stein, 2008; Brunnermeier et al., 2009; Bank of England, 2009; French et al., 2010). A microprudential approach is one in which regulation is partial-equilibrium in its conception, and aimed at preventing the costly failure of individual financial institutions. By contrast, a “macroprudential” approach recognizes the importance of general-equilibrium effects, and seeks to safeguard the financial system as a whole. In the aftermath of the crisis, there seems to be agreement among both academics and policymakers that financial regulation needs to move in a macroprudential direction. According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (2008): Going forward, a critical question for regulators and supervisors is what their appropriate "field of vision" should be. Under our current system of safety-and-soundness regulation, supervisors often focus on the financial conditions of individual institutions in isolation. An alternative approach, which has been called systemwide or macroprudential oversight, would broaden the mandate of regulators and supervisors to encompass consideration of potential systemic risks and weaknesses as well.
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