Friday, April 20, 2012

The Property Predicament

What would happen if, as so many people are hoping, home prices were to go up dramatically again as they did in the early 2000s? Would such a change really benefit society?

People who most ardently desire this are homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages, who took out mortgages at the peak of the boom and now find that their homes are worth less than they owe on them. They would just feel relieved to get out of the red as soon as possible.

Read more

Monday, April 9, 2012

Democratize Wall Street, for Social Good

MANY finance students and members of the Occupy Wall Street movement have a great deal in common: a deep interest in democratizing Wall Street.

At Yale, where I have been teaching for 25 years, I’ve been hearing a great deal lately from my students about financial innovations linked to social media. One such innovation, called crowdfunding, is embedded in the jobs bill signed into law by President Obama on Thursday. The idea involves Web sites that help many investors contribute small amounts of capital to projects that they read about online, and that might otherwise be starved for money.

Though the concept is being tried, in different ways, on sites like and, it is still very much an experiment, and its real-world benefits for small investors are still uncertain.