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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DIY Investor perspective: The Economy - Shiller and Siegel

Interesting interview on contrasting views of the economy.  Robert Shiller argues that there is a possible double dip, Professor Siegel says, " chance of double dip". Both are brilliant. Both have well reasoned arguments. Here's the kicker: a year from now one of them will appear to be a genius and the other not. If you are a market timer, pick your guru. Most likely you'll pick the one whose views conform to those you already hold.

 Supose there is a "double dip" in the economy in the second half of the year, that is unemployment rises above 10%, GDP growth turns negative etc. Then Shiller would be the financial media star du jour and great hoopla would be made over the brilliant outlook he had in early April and we would likely get another book from Shiller. This happened with the housing crisis - Shiller saw it, others didn't. Siegel would be asked about his forecast and undoubtedly would construct a well thought out narrative ( as described by Taleb in "The Black Swan") to explain how the " chance...."  event occured.

I would argue - I don't have any concrete evidence - that most investors would side with Siegel today for the simple reasons that stock prices have been rising and momentum is on his side. I would also argue, based on the evidence of macroeconomic forecasters, including those at the Fed, that the eventual outcome is a coin toss.


  1. I tend to side with Seigel myself. I think we are in the midst of economic recovery now, but don't expect it to be robust. As far as housing prices go, I expect to resume their historical trend of keeping pace with inflation.

  2. I have to say that out where I live there are a lot of houses it seems that have been put up for sale recently. I'm not sure what it means. Is it pent up supply. Are people moving to less expensive housing? I know that back in 2005/2006 a lot of people viewed the value of their house as an important ingredient in their retirement planning.