REPORT Economic Growth

A Short History of Financial Deregulation in the United States

July 2009, Matthew Sherman

As America weathers the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression, a singular debate pervades the country – what went wrong? Was it greed or negligence, or some combination of both? Was there too much regulation or too little? Clearly, the system of regulations and incentives in place did not produce optimal results. Can a similar catastrophe be prevented in the future? This paper outlines the major regulatory changes over the last three decades that created the context in which the crisis occurred.

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