Wharton PPI publishes Issue Briefs tackling concerns that are varied but share one common thread: they are central to the economic health of the nation and the American people. These are nonpartisan, knowledge-driven documents written by Wharton and Penn faculty in their specific areas of expertise.
PublicationThe Presidency, Congressional Republicans, and the Future of Financial Reform(2017-02-01) Conti-Brown, PeterThis brief examines the tension between the Republican ideological commitment to curbing executive power and the opportunity Republicans now have for Trump to dominate the direction of financial regulatory reform. The discussion will focus on three key policy outcomes that Republicans have sought during the last six years: reforming the Federal Reserve, overhauling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and changing the way in which the nation’s largest financial institutions are designated and regulated. PublicationThe Policy Barriers to Marijuana Banking(2018-02-01) Conti-Brown, PeterAlthough cannabis-related businesses have thrived in the localities that have legalized marijuana as a consumer product, the industry has suffered from crippling uncertainty, in the form of limited access to the banking system. The cannabis industry thus has been forced to operate in a cash-intensive “gray market,” which is a problem. An entire industry conducting all of its business in cash cannot be fairly taxed or regulated and, historically, has been associated with lawlessness—everything from security concerns, transportation and currency problems, money laundering, and cash hoarding. This brief reviews and analyzes the issues that surround marijuana banking and offers several policy options for addressing the tension between federal enforcement and state sovereignty as it related to marijuana banking. PublicationShining a Light on the Federal Reserve’s Foreign Affairs(2019-02-01) Conti-Brown, Peter; Zaring, David TThroughout its history, the U.S. Federal Reserve has engaged in international diplomacy, outside the bounds of (and sometimes in conflict with) the priorities of the White House and U.S. State Department. In directing monetary policy, the Fed’s primary concern is to benefit the U.S. economy. In the process, the Fed at times acts in concert with foreign central banks, as was the case in setting new bank regulations after the 2008 financial crisis. At other times, the Fed acts in ways that other countries view as detrimental to their economic interests. Either way, the Fed operates with little public accountability and can wind up complicating the work of U.S. diplomats. This issue brief focuses on the questions of whether and how greater oversight of the Fed’s international activities should be pursued. It recommends not an overhaul of the Fed’s structure or the elimination of its role in international affairs but instead calls for greater disclosure of its international activities. The Fed should provide testimony to Congress twice per year on its foreign policies, just as it does for monetary and regulatory policy. This kind of disclosure permits broader discussion of the Fed’s activities without eliminating the benefits of its institutional independence for monetary policy.