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House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again Paperback – 23 Jun 2015

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; First Edition, Enlarged ed. edition (20 May 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022627165X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226271651
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"The most important economics book of 2014; it could be the most important book to come out of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession. Its arguments deserve careful attention, and its publication provides an opportunity to reconsider policy choices made in 2009 and 2010 regarding mortgage debt. "House of Debt" is important because it persuasively demonstrates that the conventional meta-narrative of the crisis and its aftermath, which emphasizes the breakdown of financial intermediation, is inadequate. . . . All future work on financial crises will have to reckon with the household balance sheet effects they stress. After their work, we can still believe in the necessity of financial rescues; however, we can no longer believe in their sufficiency. And after their work, we have an important new agenda of reforms to consider if future crises are to be prevented."--Lawrence Summers "Financial Times "

"Mian and Sufi are convinced that the Great Recession could have been just another ordinary, lowercase recession if the federal government had acted more aggressively to help homeowners by reducing mortgage debts. The two men -- economics professors who are part of a new generation of scholars whose work relies on enormous data sets -- argue . . . that the government misunderstood the deepest recession since the 1930s. They are particularly critical of Timothy Geithner, the former Treasury secretary, and Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman, for focusing on preserving the financial system without addressing what the authors regard as the underlying and more important problem of excessive household debt. They say the recovery remains painfully sluggish as a result."--Binyamin Appelbaum "New York Times "

"Sufi and Mian have been publishing important work on this topic for the last eight years, beginning well before the 2008 crisis. Their arguments are compelling and deserve widespread attention, especially at a time when Tim Geithner and others are trying to rewrite history - and when many homeowners still need help."--Richard Eskow "Huffington Post "

"The economists Mian and Sufi are our leading experts on the problems created by debt overhang (and the authors of an important new book on the subject, "House of Debt"); they looked at Geithner's claims about the benefits of debt relief to the economy and showed that they are absurdly low, far below anything current research suggests."--Paul Krugman "New York Review of Books "

"Much has been written about the boom and subsequent bust that rocked the US economy during 2007-2009, but insightful and informed analysis is much rarer. This book is one of those rare gems. It offers an in-depth look at the state of housing, consumer credit, household incomes, and debt around the crisis and presents an informed discussion about its causes and consequences. The analysis of crisis resolution has resonance, not only for the United States, but for the many countries that are still entangled in severe financial difficulties."--Carmen Reinhart, Harvard University

"Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, our leading experts on the macroeconomic effects of private debt, have a new blog [www.houseofdebt.org]-- and it has instantly become must reading."--Paul Krugman "New York Times "

""House of Debt" is a very important book, reaching beyond surface explanations of the Great Recession to identify the fundamental cause--excessive private debt built up in the pre-crisis boom years. It combines meticulous empirical research with an ability to see the big picture. Its message needs to be heeded and its proposals for reform seriously considered if we are to avoid repeating in future the mistakes of the past."--Lord Adair Turner, former chair, Financial Services Authority

"Mian and Sufi have produced some of the most important and compelling research on the impact of debt on consumer behavior during the recent housing bubble and bust. This excellent new book presents and expands this research in a rigorous, yet engaging and accessible way."--Christina D. Romer, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers

"This is a profoundly important book that makes a huge range of serious empirical evidence on the financial crisis accessible to a broad readership. A compendium of Mian and Sufi's own celebrated work would already be a spectacular contribution, but this book is so much more. Although the authors present all views in a balanced, scholarly way, their quiet insistence that we should have moved faster to write down household mortgages is well-reasoned and compelling."--Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard University

"Perhaps the most important single lesson of the crisis is that beyond some point the growth in debt adds to the fragility of the economy more than it adds to either personal welfare or aggregate demand. Atif Mian and Amir Sufi argue this persuasively in "House of Debt.""--Martin Wolf "Financial Times "

About the Author

Atif Mian is the Theodore A. Wells '29 Professor of Economics at Princeton University and director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance. Amir Sufi is the Chicago Board of Trade Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


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