Friday, September 23, 2011

The Great Debt Scare -- Robert Shiller


It might not seem that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis and growing concern about the United States’ debt position should shake basic economic confidence.

Robert Shiller
But they apparently have.

And loss of confidence, by discouraging consumption and investment, can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, causing the economic weakness that is feared.

Significant drops in consumer-confidence indices in Europe and North America already reflect this perverse dynamic.


We now have a daily index for the US, the Gallup Economic Confidence Index, so we can pinpoint changes in confidence over time.

The Gallup Index dropped sharply between the first week of July and the first week of August – the period when US political leaders worried everyone that they would be unable to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling and prevent the US from defaulting on August 2.

The story played out in the news media every day. August 2 came and went, with no default, but, three days later, a Friday, Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on long-term US debt from AAA to AA+. The following Monday, the S&P 500 dropped almost 7%

Continue Reading







Robert Shiller, Professor of Economics at Yale University, is co-author, with George Akerlof, of Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism.


 


Original content Bob DeMarco, All American Investor