Lectures in business bring new insights

The Center for Business and Public Policy invited three nationally acclaimed economists to a debate on financial regulation and the prevention of another economic crisis at the Business Instructional Facility on Tuesday.

Chester Spatt, professor of finance at Carnegie Mellon, Andrew Busch, currency and public policy strategist of the BMO Capital Markets’ investment banking division, and Greg Ip, economics editor of The Economist, each held lectures and together conducted a question and answer session.

The lecture addressed the variety of opinions on the last financial crisis, provisions made since to avoid another, what might cause the next and how other nations regulate financial institutions, among other topics.

The event was free and open to the public.

The center held the lecture as the second part of a four-part series on regulation. The lectures will discuss the general basis of government regulation today, financial regulation, environmental regulation and the building of a greener economy and corporate response to its regulation, respectively.

Charles Kahn, head of the finance department and lecture moderator, said the series serves to expose students to issues that will play a pivotal role in the professional world.

“It’s a way to get the most information about these issues out to Business students,” Kahn said.

Business students said unlike the classroom setting, the speakers shed a different light on the government’s current method of regulating business, such as in the housing market and the health care system.

“They obviously have very different perspectives, and they’re obviously very knowledgeable,” said Katie Kilbridge, sophomore in Business. “You challenge yourself to learn more, and it’s definitely a different experience than a professor who shows his opinion and fights to the death (for it).”

One example cited in the lecture was the Dodd-Frank Act, which calls for transparency and the stop of abusive practices in the mortgage industry.

“I am skeptical (of the bill),” said Richard Crowley, junior in LAS. “Most of the panelists seemed skeptical as well … (Spatt) even went as far to say that the bill acts to destabilize the industry rather than stabilize it.”

Kilbridge said most people adopt their views from their parents when it comes to the government’s role in business. However, these views were challenged by the speakers during their talks, she added.

“Most students tend to go with their political views, but once you go into financial regulation, maybe you shouldn’t go by your political view,” Kilbridge said.

Crowley said the lecture enriched the topics barely touched upon in class.

“You get the perspective (Business professors) teach you in class, but you don’t look at it fleshed out and from every angle possible,” Crowley said about the coverage of financial regulation in Business classes.