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A Crisis of Beliefs


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About the Author

Nicola Gennaioli is professor of finance at Bocconi University in Italy. He lives in Milan. Andrei Shleifer is professor of economics at Harvard University. His books include Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance and The Grabbing Hand: Government Pathologies and Their Cures. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.


"An 'as smart as you would expect' take on the hypothesis that investor over-extrapolation of recent price trends can cause financial crises, including our recent financial crisis."---Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
"A decade after the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath, economists are still grappling with its nature and significance. An important recent contribution is A Crisis of Beliefs. . . . They make a convincing case for taking seriously the evidence provided by surveys and anecdotes that characterize the beliefs held at the time by households, investors, and policy makers."---Arnold Kling, EconLib
"Economists are at last catching up with the seminal work of the late Hyman Minsky. In a book written for academics, but of wider relevance, the authors conclude that, first, investors make mistakes; second, those mistakes are systematic, predictable and incompatible with the view, that expectations are 'rational'; and, third, a new perspective, called 'diagnostic expectations', rooted in human psychology, does a good job of explaining these mistakes. Moreover, they argue, surveys indicate when expectations are becoming riskily euphoric and so should help predict crises."---Martin Wolf, Financial Times
"Something is wrong with the economics profession if events like those of 2008 do not change its thinking. Those wanting to be in the vanguard of the new thinking should be reading A Crisis of Beliefs."---Lawrence Summers,'s Wonkblog
"For a decade now, people have been looking for a silver lining to the disasters of 2008-2018, hoping that this period will bring about a more productive integration of finance, behavioral economics, and macroeconomic orthodoxy. So far, they have been searching in vain. But with the publication of A Crisis of Beliefs, there is hope yet."---J. Bradford Delong, Project Syndicate
"There is evidence from behavioral economics that people are not entirely logical, and do not actually rely fully on logic or standard statistical techniques. This behavioral economic perspective is embraced by Nicola Gennaioli of Bocconi University and Andrei Shleifer of Harvard University in their remarkable new book, A Crisis of Beliefs."---Robert J. Shiller, New York Times
"One of Bloomberg's Best Books of 2018 (Cass Sunstein)"
"One of Barron's Book Picks from Industry Leaders in 2018 (Robert Shiller)"
"What caused the financial crisis of 2008? What's likely to cause future crises? Gennaioli and Shleifer offer an original, compelling and intriguing answer: investor psychology. . . . Gennaioli and Shleifer offer a parsimonious account of boom-bust cycles - one that relies mostly on what goes on in people's minds."---Cass Sunstein, Bloomberg

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