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Robert Shiller on How Narratives Impact Economic Events

Featured Events | Aug 10, 2020 |
The study of narratives is typically thought of as the work of historians, anthropologists, and sociologists. But Robert Shiller’s Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events explores the history of economics by studying the impact of word of mouth, our collective understanding of the past, and even of contagion.
Published in October 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Shiller’s book looks at epidemics and the hump-shaped curves they leave behind in their wake, offering a creative way to understand what drives our markets. “Just like diseases, economic theories are subject to epidemics,” Shiller, economist, author, and Nobel laureate, said during a presentation that was part of the Gabelli School’s Virtual Centennial Speaker Series.
Narratives, he argues, can actually impact economic behavior. And a look at public awareness of terms such as “panic” and “the Great Depression,” as featured in literature and in newspaper records, suggests that certain levels of knowledge and understanding can create the conditions for economic tipping points. 
Watch Shiller’s full presentation – part of the Gabelli School’s Centennial Virtual Speaker Series – below.

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