The Financial Crisis Five Years Later: Have We Learned Anything?
This course is no longer being offered.
The financial crisis of 2007-2008 triggered the worst economic recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression. But five years after that crisis, there is little consensus about what caused that crisis or what (if any) regulatory tools are available to government to prevent a similar crisis from occurring in the future. This course will seek to provide students with a variety of perspectives on the financial crisis and will ask students to apply the historian's craft to answer the question of "What caused the financial crisis?"
In this course, students will be asked to engage with a variety of sources related to the question of what caused the 2007-08 financial meltdown and who (if anyone) could have stopped it. These sources will include memoirs and biographies of key figures involved in the financial crisis; testimony before congressional committees; the final report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission; academic papers, including papers from economics journals, the Federal Reserve Banks, and law reviews; journalists' accounts of the crisis; and reform proposals based on a reading of the crisis.
This course is primarily designed to teach students how to weigh multiple sources from different points of view in order to reach their own opinions as to the causality of a major historical event. A secondary goal will be to familiarize students with the American financial system; the current regulatory system of financial institutions; and related regulatory reform proposals.