Press Release

Experts to gather this week for UC Berkeley-UCLA symposium on mortgage meltdown

| 27 October 2008

With the mortgage market and subprime loans taking much of the blame for today's global financial crisis, a timely symposium - "Mortgage Meltdown, the Economy and Public Policy" - will be held Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30-31, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Among the featured speakers will be Federal Reserve Bank Chair Ben Bernanke (speaking via satellite); San Francisco Federal Reserve President Janet Yellen, professor emeritus at the Haas School of Business; California State Senate President Pro Tem-elect Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento); and Yale University economist Robert Shiller, author of "The Subprime Solution: How Today's Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do about It."

Symposium topics will include the future of the housing finance system, the role of traditional government agencies in alleviating the financial damage, the demography of foreclosures, the crisis in financial markets and the "new regulatory frontier."

The event is a joint endeavor between the Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy and the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate. It is being convened by noted housing and housing finance experts John Quigley, a UC Berkeley economist, interim dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy and director of the Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, and Stuart Gabriel, professor of finance at UCLA Anderson School of Management and director of UCLA's Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate.

"The symposium was planned at the beginning of last summer, when it was clear that the collapse of housing prices was real and that California would be hardest hit by the declines in real estate values," said Quigley. "We were further concerned at that time about possible - and now very real - fallout in the housing finance and general capital markets as a result of the weakness in housing."

"We are seeking to combine the best academic and regulatory thinking on this critical set of economic and capital markets issues currently facing our nation," said Gabriel. "By bringing together academic, regulatory, legislative and business leadership, we will look to identify the lessons of the current crisis with the hope that improved understanding of current outcomes will lead to regulatory and policy decisions that prevent similar crises in the future."

Headlining the two-day program, being held at UC Berkeley's Alumni House, will be Bernanke, speaking via satellite at 11 a.m. Friday; Yellen, who will give the keynote address at a 12:15 p.m. luncheon on Thursday; and Steinberg, the lunch speaker on Friday at 12:15 p.m.

The event also will include presentations and panel discussions with leading academic experts in the study and understanding of today's evolving housing market. Among them will be:

  • Robert Schiller, a Yale University economist and author of "The Subprime Solution: How Today's Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do about It" (2008). He also wrote the best-selling book, "Irrational Exuberance" (2000), which warned the stock market had developed a bubble in March 2000 that could lead to a sharp decline.
  • Edward Leamer, a UCLA economist and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast.
  • Dwight Jaffee, a UC Berkeley finance and real estate professor, who will speak on "Monoline Regulations to Control the Systematic Risk Created by Investment Banks and GSEs."
  • Karl "Chip" Case, a Wellesley College in Massachusetts economist and co-founder with Shiller of the widely consulted "Case-Schiller Home Price Index," which measures the nominal value of the U.S. residential real estate market.
  • Robert Hall, a Stanford University economist who leads the National Bureau of Economic Research's committee responsible for dating economic cycles and recessions. He also is the incoming president of the American Economic Association.
  • Richard Roll, a UCLA Anderson professor of finance who conducted the first study to analyze how stock prices respond to an event.

Event registration is closed, but there is a waiting list. Further details are available at the UC Berkeley Urban Policy Web site.

The University of California has been at the forefront of assessing the domestic and global financial crisis and has scheduled numerous public forums with UC experts to address the problems and government responses to them. UC professors have served with the Federal Reserve Bank, U.S. Treasury Department, Congressional Budget Office, U.S. Department of Justice and the Council of Economic Advisers.