Course code:



A - Advanced

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:


Financial bubbles and crises, such as the one that devastated the global economy in the first decade of the 21st Century, are some of the most important and ubiquitous economic phenomena, yet the standard body of intermediate macroeconomic theory covers them indirectly at best. In addition to their significance, financial bubbles are fascinating, as apparently rational people engage in apparently crazy financial behavior, and clearly untenable situations persist at length, until they collapse with often-disastrous results. This advanced tutorial takes a focused look at financial bubbles and crises, examining their history, microeconomic bases, and macroeconomic implications. We will examine competing theories of bubbles and use them to assess selected financial bubbles and crises from the 17th through the 21st Century, including the most recent global tempest. Course themes will include the psychological, informational, and sociocultural foundations of bubbles (e.g. herd behavior, the role of the media, the impact of economic theory and economists), the nature of debt, credit cycles (“Minsky Moments”), commercial and investment banking, hedge funds, moral hazard, asset valuation, the development, use and abuse of complex financial instruments, financial market regulation, and central bank and fiscal responses to crises. The tutorial will be useful for students with interests in macroeconomics, the global economy, capitalism, and business. Evaluation will be based on oral presentations, several quizzes, and a final poster presentation.


Intermediate macroeconomics and permission of instructor.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.