Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Now Available: Narrative Economics

From Nobel Prize–winning economist and New York Times bestselling author Robert Shiller, a new way to think about how popular stories help drive economic events

In a world in which internet troll farms attempt to influence foreign elections, can we afford to ignore the power of viral stories to affect economies? In this groundbreaking book, Nobel Prize–winning economist and New York Times bestselling author Robert Shiller offers a new way to think about the economy and economic change. Using a rich array of historical examples and data, Shiller argues that studying popular stories that affect individual and collective economic behavior—what he calls "narrative economics"—has the potential to vastly improve our ability to predict, prepare for, and lessen the damage of financial crises, recessions, depressions, and other major economic events.

Spread through the public in the form of popular stories, ideas can go viral and move markets—whether it's the belief that tech stocks can only go up, that housing prices never fall, or that some firms are too big to fail. Whether true or false, stories like these—transmitted by word of mouth, by the news media, and increasingly by social media—drive the economy by driving our decisions about how and where to invest, how much to spend and save, and more. But despite the obvious importance of such stories, most economists have paid little attention to them. Narrative Economics sets out to change that by laying the foundation for a way of understanding how stories help propel economic events that have had led to war, mass unemployment, and increased inequality.

The stories people tell—about economic confidence or panic, housing booms, the American dream, or Bitcoin—affect economic outcomes. Narrative Economics explains how we can begin to take these stories seriously. It may be Robert Shiller's most important book to date.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

What People Say About the Economy Can Set Off a Recession

When will the next recession arrive?

Economists are evaluating such factors as President Trump’s endlessly shifting tariff policy, the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve and other central banks, and such “leading indicators” as the yields in the bond market.

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Friday, August 30, 2019

The Trump Narrative and the Next Recession

So far, with his flashy lifestyle, the US president has been a resounding inspiration to many consumers and investors. But his personal narrative is unlikely to survive an economic downturn, because people pull back during such periods and reassess their views and the stories they find believable.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Modern Monetary Theory Makes Sense, Up to a Point

The term “modern monetary theory” has been talked about so much lately that we mainstream economists need to try to understand it.

We’re having trouble, though I’m beginning to suspect that it may be because M.M.T., as it’s often called, is really just a voguish name for a group of old and, for the most part, sensible ideas, repackaged in a new form.

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Was the Stock-Market Boom Predictable?

While the conventional wisdom holds that it is never possible to "time the market," it might seem that major shifts – like the quadrupling of the US stock market over the last decade – should be at least partly foreseeable. Why aren't they?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Morality and Money Management

Following his recent death, Vanguard Group founder Jack Bogle was widely and generously eulogized – and justifiably so. But if everyone followed Bogle’s investment strategy, market prices would turn into nonsense and would provide no direction to economic activity.

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Housing Boom Is Already Gigantic. How Long Can It Last?

We are, once again, experiencing one of the greatest housing booms in United States history.

How long this will last and where it is heading next are impossible to know now.

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