Many commentators assume so. But the role of declining lending standards may be overstated. In a new Atlanta Fed paper, Kristopher Gerardi, Adam Shapiro, and Paul Willen take a look at Massachussets home prices over two housing cycles from 1989 and 2008 and conclude that falling home prices (rather than weak underwriting standards) played the key role in the crisis: [H]ad prices not fallen, we would simply not have had a major foreclosure crisis, regardless of whether lenders had lowered underwriting standards in 2003 and 2004.
The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur By Brian Steidle and Gretchen Steidle Wallace (PublicAffairs, 237 pp., $14.95) War in Darfur and the Search for Peace Edited by Alex de Waal (Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University and Justice Africa, 431 pp., $24.95) Darfur's Sorrow: A History of Destruction and Genocide By M.W. Daly (Cambridge University Press, 368 pp., $22.99) Darfur: The Long Road to Disaster By J. Millard Burr and Robert O.