Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 371: Are Bad Times Good News for the Securities and Exchange Commission?

Tim Lohse () and Christian Thomann ()
Additional contact information
Tim Lohse: Berlin School of Economics and Law, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, Postal: Alt-Friedrichsfelde 60, , 10315 Berlin, , Germany
Christian Thomann: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: There exists a considerable debate in the literature investigating how stock market upswings or downswings impact financial market regulation. The present paper contributes to this literature and investigates whether financial market regulation follows a regulative cycle: does regulation, and consequently investor protection, increase as a result of a stock market downturn (as argued by, e.g., Zingales (2009)) or – contrary to the regulative cycle hypothesis – as a result of an upswing (as claimed by Povel (2007), or Hertzberg (2003)) Following Jackson and Roe (2009), we use funding data on the world’s most important financial market regulator, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as a proxy for the politically desired degree of regulation. We apply time series analysis. Using more than 60 years of data, we show that the SEC’s funding follows a regulative cycle: A weak stock market results in increased resources for the SEC. A strong stock market results in reduced resources. Our findings underline the downside of regulation as the regulative cycle amplifies the technical procyclicality inherent in regulation.

Keywords: Financial Regulation; Procyclicality; Securities and Ex-change Commission; Stock Market

JEL-codes: C32; G18; G28

16 pages, July 24, 2014

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