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A Nation of Gamblers: Real Estate Speculation and American History

April 10, 2013

Wednesday, April 10 at 5:30 p.m.
Nye A, 5th floor Taubman Building, 15 Eliot Street

Edward L. Glaeser, Director, A. Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government; Director, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, FAS

The great housing convulsion that buffeted America between 2000 and 2010 has historical precedents, from the frontier land boom of the 1790s to the skyscraper craze of the 1920s. This lecture compares and contrasts land booms in the United States, starting in the 18th century and ending in the present. The recurring error across history is not that buyers are irrational, but instead are making their purchasing decisions based on too little information. Additionally, the primary cost of these booms has been the financial chaos that accompanies housing downturns.

Co-sponsored by the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government.

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