ROBERT SHILLER: The Business Of Predicting Bubbles Is In A Bubble

robert shiller

“Maybe there is a bubble in the word bubble,” says renowned Yale economist Robert Shiller.

In an interview on, Shiller speaks about the origin of the word bubble in regards to finance, and cites how it has been used or misused since its inception in 1720.

“Now I remember in the 1980s very tentatively using the word in academic discourse, and I thought, I’m going to get in trouble, but I’m going to say it anyway. It had that feel to it. If you do a word count on Google ngrams, especially if you look for “housing bubble” – bubble has too many meanings, so you can’t search on “bubble” – but the housing bubble, and I think also “speculative bubble,” but more particularly a housing bubble. That’s really a 21st-century phenomenon.

‘Land bubble’ is longer back, but I think it’s coming into our favourite vocabulary. It’s now a word that you can use all the time for dramatic effect, and it’s maybe getting overuse, so maybe there is a bubble in the word “bubble.” We’ll maybe see a retrenchment back. I’m trying to avoid using it now.”

Watch the whole interview at

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