In this timely and prescient update of his celebrated 2000 bestseller Irrational Exuberance, Robert J. Shiller returns to the topic that gained him international fame: market volatility. Shiller breaks new ground in this second edition by laying out in even clearer and starker terms the market excesses that continue to destabilize the economy and disrupt our lives.
Having predicted the stock market collapse that began just one month after the first edition was published, he now expands the book to cover other markets that have become volatile, particularly the recently red-hot housing market. He includes a full chapter on domestic and international housing prices in historical perspective.
Shiller amasses impressive evidence to support his argument that the recent housing market boom bears many similarities to the stock market bubble of the late 1990s, and may eventually be followed by declining home prices for years to come. After stocks plummeted when the bubble burst in 2000, investors moved their money into housing. This precipitated the inflated real estate prices not only in America, but around the world, Shiller maintains. Hence, irrational exuberance did not disappear-it merely reappeared in other settings.
Building on the original edition, Shiller draws out the psychological origins of volatility in financial markets, this time folding real estate into his analysis. He broadens the evidence that investing in capital markets of all kinds in the modern free-market economy is inherently unstable-subject to the profoundly human influences captured in Alan Greenspan's now-famous phrase, "irrational exuberance."
The ultimate solution to this troubling condition, he maintains, would involve better-designed public institutions such as a revamped social security system, new forms of insurance to protect people's incomes and homes, and a broader array of investment options. As was true of its predecessor, the second edition of Irrational Exuberance is destined to be widely read, discussed, and debated.