Summary of History Credits Lehman Brothers’ Collapse for the 2008 Financial Crisis. Here’s Why That Narrative is Wrong.

Looking for the article?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 5 minutes.

History Credits Lehman Brothers’ Collapse for the 2008 Financial Crisis. Here’s Why That Narrative is Wrong. summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans


8 Overall

8 Importance

8 Innovation

7 Style


In 2008, Lehman Brothers had not planned for a worst-case scenario, because it assumed that regulators would step in to prevent its bankruptcy. Therein lay the problem, according to professor David Skeel in this thought-provoking reconsideration of Lehman’s role in the financial crisis. While the financial system looks better prepared today to weather future tumult, market expectations about potential government intervention remain consequential. This intriguing article makes an important contribution to policy debates on pending laws for distressed bank resolutions.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What the conventional wisdom says about Lehman Brothers’ role in the 2008 financial crisis, 
  • Why this depiction is wrong and
  • Why the persistence of this misconception could undermine policy measures to mitigate future crises.

About the Author

David Skeel is a professor of corporate law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.



Three misperceptions underpin a prevailing belief that the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy sparked the 2008 worldwide financial crisis. The first misperception lies in the hindsight view that regulators’ refusal to rescue Lehman Brothers was a mistake. The second is that the firm’s demise was a singular event that set off the financial conflagration that followed in the United States and abroad. The third is that normal bankruptcy proceedings could not properly manage the losses stemming from the insolvency of a systemically important financial institution.  

In reality, a cluster of events ignited the crisis...

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

The Financial Scandal No One Is Talking About
Gender-Related Differences in Credit Use and Credit Scores
Why Wall Street Matters
Financial Stability a Decade After the Onset of the Crisis
An Early Experiment with “Permazero”
Mistakes Millionaires Make

Related Channels

Comment on this summary