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Robert Shiller presidential address to the American Economic Association

It was something out of the usual — as we should expect from as fertile, contrarian and original thinker as Shiller — namely a plea for economists to take seriously the importance of “narrative epidemics”. 

That is to say, be aware of the stories people tell one another about the economy, because they may have real effects.

Shiller’s paper is a rich read. It proposes a causal role for stories: because people’s beliefs affect their actions, the “viral spread” of some ideas and narratives over others can constitute a causal mechanism in the unfolding of an economic phenomenon or event.

Martin Sandbbu, FT 12 January 2017

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