Richard Freeman on Changing Wall Street

BY busadmin  January 19, 2010 at 10:23 AM EDT

Paul Solman: A few months ago, Harvard economist Richard Freeman took us on a recession walking tour of the Boston area. Among the many hats Freeman wears is working at the National Bureau of Economic Research, which declares when the United States is in a recession, and the views out his window there, he explained to us, showcase the recession’s effect on the neighborhood’s businesses.

I caught up with Freeman at the AEA in Atlanta earlier this month to talk about his thoughts on what’s happening on Wall Street these days. He didn’t mince his words:

Let me phrase it this way: Crime in the U.S. has been falling for the whole last 10-15 years — that’s normal crime. White collar crime, we’ve had an epidemic and at the top of the epidemic are the bankers.