Wednesday, November 15, 4 to 5:30pm Eastern
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, WASSERSTEIN HALL, ROOM 3018
w/ livestream option
Please join LPE@HLS as we host Professor Will Bateman (Australian National University College of Law), who will discuss his new, boundary-pushing article, The Fiscal Fed. Students and scholars of law, finance, and/or political economy may be especially interested, though all are welcome to attend! This is a hybrid event. Attendees can join us in-person or by Zoom using this link.
The US Federal Reserve System is conventionally understood as a private-market stabilizing institution that has no settled role in supporting the fiscal power of the Treasury. Contra that view, this article argues that the US central bank has always had an extensive fiscal role: building, smoothing and rescuing US Treasury debt markets. Employing a long-duration institutional analysis which draws on the empirics of the Fed’s internal deliberations, financial transactions and legal framework, the Fed’s fiscal functions are explored with a particular focus on operations during the World Wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Global Financial Crisis and the COVID-19 Pandemic. In each period, the Fed’s main fiscal instrument was large-scale debt purchase programs, buttressed by other direct and indirect credit transactions with the Treasury. A deeper understanding of the Fed’s fiscal functions has implications for the constitutional design of economic institutions and legal-theoretic accounts of the financial system.
Dr. Will Bateman is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University College of Law where he researches legal aspects of finance, technology and public administration. He leads multi-jurisdictional projects on the legal regulation of public and private finance, with a special focus on central banking, sovereign debt markets, national budget formulation and sustainable investing. Before academia, Dr Bateman worked in appellate litigation, commercial disputes and banking as a solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills, associate to the hon Justice Stephen Gageler AC of the High Court of Australia, and the hon Justice Steven Rares of the Federal Court of Australia. He holds a PhD and LLM from the University of Cambridge and a LLB/BA from the ANU. His scholarship has been published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, the Australian Law Journal, the Sydney Law Review, the Federal Law Review, the Melbourne University Law Review and the Public Law Review.