Regulation of Financial Markets

Hendrik S. Houthakker and Peter J. Williamson

in The Economics of Financial Markets

Published in print December 1996 | ISBN: 9780195044072
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199832958 | DOI:
Regulation of Financial Markets

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Most financial markets are highly competitive – there are hundreds or thousands of active traders and at any time and place prices vary only within a narrow range – the bid‐ask price spread. Regulation is usually associated with monopoly; it might seem, therefore, that regulation of financial markets is unnecessary. After an introductory section on the ethics of finance and the economic function of financial markets, the second section of this chapter explains why that conclusion is unwarranted. The third section discusses the various levels of US federal regulation (the exchanges, the regulatory commissions and the courts); the fourth looks at federal regulation of trading in corporate shares and bonds by the Securities and Exchange Commission; the fifth shows how futures markets are federally regulated in the US; and the sixth is a case study of an important regulatory failure – the silver manipulation of 1979–80 in the USA. The final section looks at regulation in the UK.

Keywords: bid prices; competition; corporate bonds; corporate shares; federal regulation; financial markets; futures markets; regulation; Securities and Exchange Commission; trading; UK; USA

Chapter.  8234 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Financial Markets

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