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A Nation of Gamblers: Real Estate Speculation and American History

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Published on Apr 18, 2013

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 -- delivered by Edward L. Glaeser, director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics on April 10, 2013 at Harvard Kennedy School -- 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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