Robert J. Shiller: Economics, Narrative, and Pandemics
Where: The 92nd Street Y, New York
1395 Lexington Ave.
212-415-5500 Price: $20
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Narratives that circulate among the general population are potentially contagious and can be epidemic, just as disease viruses are.
The general public does not talk about pure economic theory much, but some rudimentary theories that guide their economic decisions are spread by their connection with viral human-interest narratives. With modern historical files of digitized text, such as of newspapers or books, we can get clues of the changes in popular narratives in history, evidence of changing viewpoints of the economy, and link these to economic events. Such a historical analysis with reference to the epidemiological literature can help us predict the long-term impact of the Covid-19 epidemic with its associated narrative epidemic on the markets and the economy. Robert J. Shiller will explain more, as outlined in his recent book Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events.
Robert J. Shiller
Robert J. Shiller is Sterling Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, and Professor of Finance and Fellow at the International Center for Finance, Yale School of Management. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1967 and his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. He has written on financial markets, financial innovation, behavioral economics, macroeconomics, real estate, statistical methods, and on public attitudes, opinions, and moral judgments regarding markets.
His 1989 book Market Volatility (MIT Press) is a mathematical and behavioral analysis of price fluctuations in speculative markets. His 1993 book Macro Markets: Creating Institutions for Managing Society’s Largest Economic Risks (Oxford University Press) (available via subscribing libraries on Oxford Online) proposes a variety of new risk-management contracts, such as futures contracts in national incomes or securities based on real estate that would permit the management of risks to standards of living. His book Irrational Exuberance(Princeton 2000, Broadway Books 2001, 2nd edition Princeton 2005, 3rd edition Princeton 2015) is an analysis and explication of speculative bubbles, with special reference to the stock market and real estate. His book The New Financial Order: Risk in the 21st Century (Princeton University Press, 2003) is an analysis of an expanding role of finance, insurance, and public finance in our future. His book Subprime Solution: How the Global Financial Crisis Happened and What to Do about It, published in September 2008 by Princeton University Press, offers an analysis of the housing and economic crisis and a plan of action against it. He co-authored, with George A. Akerlof, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism published in March 2009 by Princeton University Press. His book, Finance and the Good Society, was published in April 2012 by Princeton University Press. He co-authored, with George Akerlof, Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception in September 2015 by Princeton University Press.
He was co-founder of Case Shiller Weis, Inc. in 1991, whose repeat-sales home price indices, developed originally with Karl E. Case, are now produced by CoreLogic and published as the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange now maintains futures markets based on the S&P/Case-Shiller Indices. He was cofounder of MacroMarkets, LLC in 1999, which launched Macroshares based on oil at the American Stock Exchange 2006-9, and on the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices at the New York Stock Exchange 2009-2010.
He has been research associate, National Bureau of Economic Research since 1980, and has been co-organizer of NBER workshops: on behavioral finance with Richard Thaler 1991-2015, and on macroeconomics and individual decision making (behavioral macroeconomics) with George Akerlof 1994-2007.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences jointly with Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen in 2013.
He served as Vice President of the American Economic Association, 2005 and President of the Eastern Economic Association, 2006-07. He was elected President of the American Economic Association for 2016.
He writes a regular column “Finance in the 21st Century” for Project Syndicate, which publishes around the world, and “Economic View” for The New York Times.