Narrative Economics

Full Name
Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events

In this groundbreaking title, Yale economist Robert Shiller offers a new way to think about how popular stories help drive economic events. Using a prolific array of factual data and examples, Shiller argues that studying "narrative economics" — viral stories that influence individual and collective economic behavior — has the potential to greatly improve our ability to predict, prepare for, and minimize the damage of financial crises, depressions, recessions, and other paramount economic events. Narrative Economics sets out to change that by laying the foundation for a way of understanding how stories drive our decisions about how and where to invest, how much to spend and save, and more.

"This is a fascinating and important book, written in an engaging style and packed with intriguing examples."

Diane Coyle, University of Cambridge 

"In this highly readable and entertaining book, Robert Shiller, extending the idea of contagious narratives with profound economic effects beyond stock-market and housing bubbles, ranges widely from old debates about the gold standard to the latest impacts of artificial intelligence. Narrative Economics contains a treasure of priceless quotations and examples and breaks new ground by tracing key words and phrases as they go viral and eventually fade away."

Robert J. Gordon, New York Times bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of American Growth

"What causes the recurrent bubbles and busts in financial markets that create so much disruption in our lives? Economists have explored all sorts of possible causes, from subtle changes in monetary policy to the solar sunspot cycle. In this fascinating book, Robert Shiller argues that what really matters is a good story. Narrative economics, he argues, can explain what statistics miss, and shows how viral shifts in economic thinking resemble real epidemics."

John Quiggin, author of Economics in Two Lessons

"Ambitious and absorbing, Narrative Economics takes seriously the possibility that stories may have an economic life of their own, spreading through communities like epidemics, and it makes an extremely compelling case that studying such stories is important. The book is also a joy to read―lively, engaging, and accessible."

Rajiv Sethi, Barnard College, Columbia University