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University of Iowa News Release


March 2, 2009

Learning from the headlines; law school class to examine economic crisis

The University of Iowa College of Law is offering a course this spring that examines the ongoing economic crisis in the United States and around the world.

But law professor Enrique Carrasco concedes that planning for the class is like hitting a moving target blindfolded.

"Things change day by day, so we don't know what the situation is going to look like when the class starts," said Carrasco, who is also director of the University of Iowa Center for International Finance and Development (UICIFD). His course, "The Global Financial Crisis," will be an intrasession course offered the week of March 16.

The topics the students will examine will include: the roots of the crisis; how the crisis spread throughout the U.S. and Europe via the process of securitization; the key actors in the crisis; domestic and international regulatory aspects of the crisis; the impact of the crisis on emerging/developing countries; measures that have been taken to tackle the crisis.

The class will also cover the role of regulation and bank capital, and securitization, two topics key to understanding the crisis.

Carrasco said another challenge he's facing is the frequent lack of in-depth information available to teach about. As an example, he points to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's recent $75 billion bank bail-out proposal, a plan that provides little information on what he actually intends to do with the money.

"It will limit what I can teach without more detail, so in some cases, we'll be left to focus on broader issues," he said.

Carrasco hopes that students in the class will leave with a better understanding of what has turned out to be the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"It's a timely topic that a lot of people are interested in knowing more about," he said.

Carrasco said the ongoing economic crisis has become the primary study for the UICIFD in recent months. The center's analysts are writing about new developments on its Web site, and it also maintains a comprehensive and highly detailed timeline of important events as the economic collapse began and then moved around the globe.

"At the center, we write about these topics in plain language for an audience of people who aren't lawyers or economists or financiers," he said. "We want to empower people to better understand what's going on with the crisis so they can make educated decisions."

More information about the UICIFD and the timeline are available online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,