Jump to:Page Content
Ed Glaeser presents a short history of housing booms and busts in America, drawing from his most recent research paper (see: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/var/ezp_site/storage/fckeditor/file/pdfs/centers-programs/centers/taubman/working_papers/Glaeser_Ely.pdf). 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 financial chaos that accompanies housing downturns.