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2021 Wallenberg Lecture 

“The Iron Law of Financial Regulation” 

Delivered by 

Professor Roberta Romano

Sterling Professor of Law, Yale University and ECGI


Thursday, 28 October 2021 

Online | 16:00 CEST | 10:00 EDT


About the Event

The 2021 Wallenberg Lecture was held on 28 October 2021, online. The lecture was delivered by Prof. Roberta Romano (Yale University and ECGI) and was developed on Prof. Romano's earlier lecture series following the global financial crisis, which advocated a serious, comprehensive reassessment of financial regulation after a fixed period. With the benefit of information regarding the impact of regulatory alternatives available at the time of such a reassessment, errors and mismatched solutions that resulted from crisis-driven legislation can be reconsidered and rectified.

The lecture reviewed the components of what Prof. Romano terms the “iron law of financial regulation” - that following a crisis, legislators will act despite its being an importune time regarding the availability of information regarding a crisis’ causes and corresponding solutions, creating a complex, regulatory ratchet, increasing costs that can have adverse unintended consequences, and then provide preliminary findings regarding the empirical foundations for the iron law.

Prof. Romano is Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Director of the Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law. Her research has focused on state competition for corporate charters, the political economy of takeover regulation, shareholder litigation, institutional investor activism in corporate governance and the regulation of securities markets and financial instruments and institutions. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, ECGI Fellow, a research associate of the National Bureau for Economic Research, a past President of the American Law and Economics Association and the Society for Empirical Legal Studies, and a past co-editor of the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization. She is a recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the William & Mary Law School’s Marshall-Wythe Medallion, and is the author of The Genius of American Corporate Law (1993) and The Advantage of Competitive Federalism for Securities Regulation (2002), editor of Foundations of Corporate Law, 2d ed. (2010) and co-editor with Shen Wei, of Financial Regulation After the Global Financial Crisis: US and China Perspectives (2017) (in Chinese).

The lecture was discussed by Prof. Franklin Allen, Professor of Finance and Economics and Executive Director of the Brevan Howard Centre at Imperial College London, and ECGI Fellow. He was formerly Executive Editor of the Review of Financial Studies and Managing Editor of the Review of Finance.  He is a past President of the American Finance Association, the Western Finance Association, the Society for Financial Studies, the Financial Intermediation Research Society and the Financial Management Association, and a Fellow of the Econometric Society. 

Working Paper Prizes

The Prizes for the best papers in the ECGI Working Paper Series' (Law and Finance) in 2020 was awarded after the lecture, with a brief presentation of the papers by the authors. The prizes are sponsored by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and The European Corporate Governance Research Foundation

The 2021 ECGI Finance Prize has been awarded to José-Luis Peydró (Imperial College London and CEPR), Andrea Polo (Luiss University, EIEF, CEPR and ECGI), Enrico Sette (Bank of Italy) for their paper on:  Risk Mitigating versus Risk Shifting: Evidence from Banks Security Trading in Crises” (ECGI Finance Working Paper 713/2020). The prize is kindly sponsored by the European Corporate Governance Research Foundation.

The 2021 Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton Prize for the Best Paper in the ECGI Law Working Paper Series has been awarded to Dionysia Katelouzou (Kings College London) and Mathias Siems (European University Institute and ECGI) for their paper: The Global Diffusion of Stewardship Codes (ECGI Law Working Paper 526/2020).


This event will follow the ECGI General Assembly Meeting was held on the same day. 


Supported by


Roberta Romano

Sterling Professor of Law and Director, Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law
Yale Law School
Fellow, Research Member

Franklin Allen

Professor of Finance and Economics
Imperial College Business School, Brevan Howard Centre
Fellow, Research Member

Andrea Polo

Associate Professor of Finance
Luiss University, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, EIEF and Barcelona GSE
Research Member

Mathias Siems

Professor of Private Law and Market Regulation
European University Institute
Research Member


Elaine McPartlan
European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
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