Financial Markets (2008)

Course Number
ECON 252
About the Course

Financial institutions are a pillar of civilized society, supporting people in their productive ventures and managing the economic risks they take on. The workings of these institutions are important to comprehend if we are to predict their actions today and their evolution in the coming information age. The course strives to offer understanding of the theory of finance and its relation to the history, strengths and imperfections of such institutions as banking, insurance, securities, futures, and other derivatives markets, and the future of these institutions over the next century.

Course Structure
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 75 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2008.

Syllabus

Professor
Robert J. Shiller, Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics
Description

Financial institutions are a pillar of civilized society, supporting people in their productive ventures and managing the economic risks they take on. The workings of these institutions are important to comprehend if we are to predict their actions today and their evolution in the coming information age. The course strives to offer understanding of the theory of finance and its relation to the history, strengths and imperfections of such institutions as banking, insurance, securities, futures, and other derivatives markets, and the future of these institutions over the next century.

Texts

Brandeis, Louis D. Other People’s Money and How the Bankers Use It, Augustus M. Kelley Publishers, Reprints of Economic Classics. New York, 1971.

Brealey, Richard, Stuart C. Myers, and Franklin Allen. Principles of Corporate Finance, 8th edition. McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2005.

Douglas, William O. Democracy and Finance. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940.

Fabozzi, Frank J., Franco Modigliani, Frank J. Jones, and Michael G. Ferri. Foundations of Financial Markets and Institutions, 4th ed. Boston, Massachusetts: Prentice Hall, 2010.

Hawtrey, R. G. The Art of Central Banking. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1932.

O’Barr, William M. and John M. Conley. Fortune & Folly: The Wealth & Power of Institutional Investing. Homewood, Illinois: Business-One Irwin, 1992.

Shiller, Robert J. Irrational Exuberance, 2nd edition. New York: Doubleday, 2006.

The New Financial Order: Risk in the 21st Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Siegel, Jeremy J. Stocks for the Long Run, 4th edition, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

Sullivan, Teresa, Elizabeth Warren and Jay Lawrence Westbrook. The Fragile Middle Class: Americans in Debt. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

Swensen, David. Pioneering Portfolio Management. New York: Free Press, 2000.

Unger, Peter. Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Requirements

Some facility with elementary algebra and calculus required. Course exams consist of roughly 50% math and theory problems and 50% facts and general understanding questions about financial markets.

Grading

Midterm exam 1: 20%
Midterm exam 2: 30%
Problem sets: 10%
Final exam: 40%

Sessions

Lecture 1 Finance and Insurance as Powerful Forces in Our Economy and Society
Lecture 2 The Universal Principle of Risk Management: Pooling and the Hedging of Risks
Lecture 3 Technology and Invention in Finance
Lecture 4 Portfolio Diversification and Supporting Financial Institutions (CAPM Model)
Lecture 5 Insurance: The Archetypal Risk Management Institution
Lecture 6 Efficient Markets vs. Excess Volatility
Lecture 7 Behavioral Finance: The Role of Psychology
Lecture 8 Human Foibles, Fraud, Manipulation, and Regulation
Lecture 9 Guest Lecture by David Swensen
Lecture 10 Debt Markets: Term Structure
Exam 1 Midterm Exam 1
Lecture 11 Stocks
Lecture 12 Real Estate Finance and Its Vulnerability to Crisis
Lecture 13 Banking: Successes and Failures
Lecture 14 Guest Lecture by Andrew Redleaf
Lecture 15 Guest Lecture by Carl Icahn
Lecture 16 The Evolution and Perfection of Monetary Policy
Exam 2 Midterm Exam 2
Lecture 17 Investment Banking and Secondary Markets
Lecture 18 Professional Money Managers and Their Influence
Lecture 19 Brokerage, ECNs, etc.
Lecture 20 Guest Lecture by Stephen Schwarzman
Lecture 21 Forwards and Futures
Lecture 22 Stock Index, Oil and Other Futures Markets
Lecture 23 Options Markets
Lecture 24 Making It Work for Real People: The Democratization of Finance
Lecture 25 Okun Lecture: Learning from and Responding to Financial Crisis, Part I (Guest Lecture by Lawrence Summers)
Lecture 26 Okun Lecture: Learning from and Responding to Financial Crisis, Part II (Guest Lecture by Lawrence Summers)
Exam 3 Final Exam

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Course Books and Other Related Titles

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