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Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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Chapter 26

Speculative Bubbles and Their Costs to Society

Economic history is peppered with stories of speculative bubbles, their bursting, and the resultant economic dislocation. There are more such stories than any of us can remember. Even before we had stock markets, there were economically important fluctuations in speculative asset prices. There are vague stories of housing booms in ancient Rome, in the time of Julius Caesar and in the time of Hadrian. Large swings in land prices wrought great distress even before we had stock markets of any size. After the invention of the newspaper in the early 1600s, stories of bubbles began to take on their modern form, and the intensity and frequency of reports of bubbles jumped significantly. The intermittent ...

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