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What can we learn from financial history to understand the successes and failures of finance today, and how finance and politics interact? This course opens with a brief survey of some of the major characteristics, issues, and challenges of financial systems today, and then examines earlier experience with these phenomena. Topics to be examined include: the role of finance in economic development historically, including in the financial revolutions from Northern Italy, the Netherlands, Britain and the US; the relationship between finance and government, and the extent to which it has changed over time; the lessons from early asset bubbles and more recent crises (including that of 2008-09) for modern financial systems; the effect of institutions (laws, norms, and culture) and political systems in shaping the impact of finance, as illustrated by comparisons between Mexico and the U.S., among other cases; and lessons from U.S. financial history for policies today. The course also examines the tools that were developed in earlier epochs to deal with different risks, evaluates their efficacy, and considers lessons for modern financial regulation. Some topics will be discussed in small groups, especially if remote classes are suggested.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
ECON 251, ECON 252, and (ECON 255 or STAT 346)
Senior Economics majors