This is a special topic focusing on ideas, theories, and evidence surrounding the Financial Crisis of 2008 and the previous business recessions. Please see Business Cycles for basic definitions and vocabulary, background, and more material on business cycles, recessions, recoveries, booms, busts, bubbles, depressions, fluctuations, economic shocks, financial crises, and trade crises.

Every idea or theory put forth as a cause for this most recent 2008 recession, or any other business recession, contains an implicit recommendation for a cure. The hard part for someone who puts forth an idea, theory, or recommendation is to show that that idea is important enough to matter or to resolve the problem–either for the recent 2008 crisis or more generally other economic crises or recessions.

Economists have worked on the causes and cures for business cycles, recessions, and financial crises since the mid-1800s. As you listen to these podcasts, interviewing dozens of renowned economists, your questions should be: Does this convince me? If it convinces or sways you, then you should take that to heart and ask about it again should it come up the next time there is a recession. Specifically: does your favored theory bear out?

You will not be alone if your favored ideas or theories don’t pan out in the next recession. No economist for the last 200 years has yet figured out what causes or cures recessions. It’s easy to ex-post quarterback. Plenty of theories abound. Economists don’t like to admit that no one has figured out the causes or the cures. If we can’t completely figure out or resolve the repercussions of business cycles, could we make the economy more resilient in the face of these recurring unknowns? Sit back and listen to all the ideas before you throw your own ideas into the ring.

Definitions and Basics

For definitions and basics, please see Business Cycles.

In the News and Examples

A Little History: Primary Sources and References

Advanced Resources

Related Topics

Business Cycles
Roles of Government
Aggregate Demand