Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Financial Regulation of Energy and Environmental Markets

By Ivan Diaz-Rainey and John Ashton with minor input by me. Available here. The abstract reads:
An often cited critique of financial regulation is that it is a patchwork of legislation addressing past crises. This paper provides a forward looking account as to the financial risks that European wholesale energy and environmental markets (EEM) may pose and to what extent current regulatory regimes and legislative developments address these risks. The first part of the paper discusses how the process of liberalisation of the energy sector, coupled with the use of market instruments to tackle environmental problems has resulted in the growth of EEM. This transition coupled with changes in capital markets has augmented or created associated financial and macroeconomic risks. Accordingly, we explore the nature of these risks within the context of past academic research on financial crises and financial regulation leading to a theoretical justification for the risk based financial regulation of EEM. The second part of the paper provides a legislative analysis of the evolving approach to the financial regulation of EEM. It draws mainly on ‘grey’ literatures in order to critically appraise the bewildering array of current policy initiatives and reviews that have the potential to affect the financial regulation and operation of EEM in Europe. We discuss some of the likely impacts of these reform initiatives and make some related policy recommendations, as well as suggestions for further research.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Using Google Books Ngram Viewer for legal research?

Well, at least fun to play with Google Books Ngram Viewer. This freely available tool works as follows: “When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how often those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books over the selected years” (of course, normalised per all books of this year). So, now a couple of examples somehow related to what (legal) scholars may be interested in:

(1) blue: "rights"; red: "duties"

(2) blue: "German law"; red: "French law"; green: "Chinese law"; yellow: "Indian law"

(3) blue: "corporate social responsibility"; red: "shareholder value"

(4) blue: "humanities"; red: "social sciences"; green: "natural sciences"

Limitations: what books are we exactly talking about? Is the word really mentioned in a meaningful way? Or were there alternative words in previous times? Thus, more generally, do these graphs show that concepts or the use of language or both have changed? And why did any of this happen? Thus, perhaps, the best way to think about these graphs is that they can show that something interesting is going on, leading to further research in particular topics.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Back! – and blogging preview

Happy New Year! I just returned from Shanghai. It was great but my long absence also means that work has accumulated. Still, this year too, I will try to write at least one blog post per week. I already have a list of a few topics but I’m not sure whether I’ll really be able to really to write about all of them:
  • My China experience at SJTU (university motto “Think of its source while drinking water, love your country and do your university credit”, as translated here)
  • On how to get abstracts from SSRN in RSS form, following a post by Distant Travel.
  • A few examples on how to use Google Books Ngram Viewer for legal research.
  • A mini-empirical analysis of my blog statistics for 2010.
  • The “What interested me in December” post, following in the next few days.