His views may seem counterintuitive in the wake of the great financial meltdown, but Shiller makes a powerful case for finance as a tool for solving society's greatest challenges and increasing general well-being. For instance, finance is responsible for such inventions as insurance, mortgages, savings accounts and pensions. The need is for more financial innovation, not less, he argues, and finance should play a larger role in helping society achieve its goals.
At this Milken Institute Forum, Shiller took part in a wide-ranging discussion with the Institute's Peter Passell about "Finance and the Good Society," the outlook for the economy in general and his forecast for housing in particular.
Shiller is no apologist for the excesses of the financial sector. He is perhaps the only economist to have predicted not only the real estate bubble that led up to the subprime mortgage meltdown but also the stock market bubble of 2000. In real estate circles, he is perhaps best known as one of the developers of the Case-Shiller home-price index.
Shiller is the Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale University as well as a finance professor and fellow at the International Center for Finance in the Yale School of Management. He is the author of seven books, including the best-seller "Irrational Exuberance." Shiller was named one of Bloomberg's "50 Most Influential People in Global Finance" in 2011 and one of Foreign Policy magazine's "Top Global Thinkers" in 2010. He has been a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) since 1980. Shiller holds a Ph.D. from MIT.
Passell is editor of The Milken Institute Review and a senior fellow. Previously he was an economics columnist at The New York Times. He was also an assistant professor at Columbia University's Graduate Department of Economics. Passell has written for such publications as The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Nation, American Economic Review and the Journal of Political Economy. Passell received his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University.