Hester Peirce

Hester Peirce

  • Senior Research Fellow

Hester Peirce is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her primary research interests relate to the regulation of the financial markets.

Before joining Mercatus, Peirce served as senior counsel to Senator Richard Shelby’s staff on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. In that position, she worked on financial regulatory reform following the financial crisis of 2008 as well as oversight of the regulatory implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Peirce served at the Securities and Exchange Commission as a staff attorney and as counsel to Commissioner Paul S. Atkins. Before that, she clerked for Judge Roger B. Andewelt on the Court of Federal Claims and was an associate at a major law firm in Washington, DC.

Peirce’s work has been published in such outlets as the Hill and American Banker, and she is a regular contributor to Real Clear Markets. She is the editor of, and a contributor to, the book Dodd-Frank: What It Does and Why It’s Flawed, published by Mercatus in 2012.

Hester Peirce earned her BA in economics from Case Western Reserve University and her JD from Yale Law School.

Working Papers


Policy Briefs

Testimony & Comments

Hester Peirce | Dec 12, 2013
When the Dodd-Frank Act was being developed, one issue under consideration was whether the Board should lose some of its regulatory powers in view of its poor regulatory performance prior to the crisis. Instead, Dodd-Frank substantially increased the Board’s regulatory powers. One of the most important new powers is the authority to regulate nonbank financial institutions designated systemically important by the Financial Stability Oversight Council. So far, General Electric Capital Corporation, American International Group, and Prudential have been so designated, with additional entities likely to follow. These financial institutions will present the bank-focused Board with new regulatory challenges. It is important that the Board respond with well-vetted, tailored regulations that recognize that these entities are not banks and cannot be effectively regulated as if they were.
Hester Peirce | Dec 03, 2013
Chairman Schweikert, Ranking Member Clarke, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to be part of today’s hearing on regulatory burdens on small financial institutions. In financial services, as in every other sector, the United States is not a one-size-fits-all nation. Financial institutions of all different sizes coexist, and customers choose among them based upon their needs. A regulatory environment that is increasingly unwelcoming to small financial institutions may curtail customer choice.
Hester Peirce, Robert Greene | Nov 01, 2013
The report was prepared in order to assist the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) in “its analysis of whether—and how—to consider [asset management firms] for enhanced prudential standards and supervision.”2 A full response to the FSOC’s request would have included an analysis of whether subjecting asset management firms to enhanced prudential standards and supervision would undermine financial stability—an issue that was not addressed in the OFR report.
Hester Peirce, Robert Greene | Sep 17, 2013
We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s June 13, 2013 notice of proposed rulemaking “Money Market Fund Reform; Amendments to Form PF” (SEC 2013 MMF Proposals). The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is dedicated to bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems and advancing knowledge about the effects of regulation on society. Thus, this comment does not represent the views of any particular affected party or special interest group but is designed to assist the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as it seeks to amend of the regulatory structure governing money market funds (MMFs).

Expert Commentary

Apr 11, 2014

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation recently issued a report on how banking industry consolidation has impacted community banks. While the analysis provides useful information, Mercatus Center senior research fellow Hester Peirce in a new blog post notes that the FDIC study generally fails to consider the impact of regulations on smaller banks.
Mar 26, 2014

Last Thursday, without any fanfare, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released the economic analysis for the Volcker Rule. The timing-approximately three months after the OCC and its fellow regulators released the final rule-and the substance of the analysis are troubling. Financial regulators' failure to conduct and use thorough economic analysis in their decisionmaking means that they are reshaping our post-crisis financial markets without critical information about whether new rules will do more harm than good.
Mar 20, 2014

Small banks didn't cause the financial crisis that led to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act - and the act's framers said they didn't intend for the law's burdensome requirements to hit smaller institutions. But the results of our recent small-bank survey published through the Mercatus Center demonstrate the futility of these good intentions. Small banks are facing rising compliance costs and are finding it harder to serve their customers.
Mar 12, 2014

Thanks to crowdfunding, Lammily, an intentionally average-looking doll designed to compete with Barbie's unattainable perfection, should be on the market by year's end. If the SEC permits crowdfunders to share in the profits of these new ventures through direct equity participation without unreasonable constraints, we can expect to see many more innovative items made available to consumers.


Hester Peirce



Hester Peirce | February 06, 2014
Hester Pierce Discusses Dodd Frank on the Gary Rathbun Show…
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