The Corner

An Academic Verdict on the Paulson Plan

If you still like the Chicago School’s emphasis on efficiency, here’s a verdict from there on the bailout:

We calculate the costs and benefits of the largest ever U.S. Government intervention in the financial system. We estimate that the revised Paulson plan increased the value of banks’ financial claims by $109 billion at a taxpayers’ cost of $112 -135 billions, creating no value in the banking sector. We compare the cost of Paulson’s plan with the costs of alternative solutions that would have achieved the same objective in term of solvency of the banking system. We find that the revised Paulson plan is the most expensive for the taxpayers, second only to the original Paulson plan. The biggest beneficiaries of this massive redistribution were the debtholders of financial institutions, especially those of the three former investment banks and of Citigroup. The equity holders just broke even.

Discuss.

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