Rethinking Housing Bubbles: The Role of Household and Bank Balance Sheets in Modeling Economic Cycles

October 1, 2014

Balance sheet crises, in which the prices of widely held and highly leveraged assets collapse, pose distinctive economic challenges. In what promises to be a deeply insightful event, authors Vernon L. Smith and Steven D. Gjerstad will discuss their new book Rethinking Housing Bubbles. Their book examines causes and consequences, and with both authors’ well-known backgrounds in experimental economics, analyzes the events that led to and resulted from the recent U.S. housing bubble as a case study in the formation and propagation of balance sheet crises. The book also examines all previous downturns in the U.S. economy and documents substantive differences between the recurrent features of economic cycles and financial crises and the beliefs that public officials hold about them, especially within the Federal Reserve System. The book concludes with an examination of similar events in other countries and assesses alternative strategies to contain financial crises and to recover from them. Please join us for what promises to be a substantive, highly compelling discussion from two recognized authorities.

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