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This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by [Reinhart, Carmen M., Rogoff, Kenneth S.]
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This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Kindle Edition


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Length: 512 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing--and recovering--their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different"--claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. With this breakthrough study, leading economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff definitively prove them wrong. Covering sixty-six countries across five continents, This Time Is Different presents a comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises, and guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults, banking panics, and inflationary spikes--from medieval currency debasements to today's subprime catastrophe. Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, leading economists whose work has been influential in the policy debate concerning the current financial crisis, provocatively argue that financial combustions are universal rites of passage for emerging and established market nations. The authors draw important lessons from history to show us how much--or how little--we have learned.


Using clear, sharp analysis and comprehensive data, Reinhart and Rogoff document that financial fallouts occur in clusters and strike with surprisingly consistent frequency, duration, and ferocity. They examine the patterns of currency crashes, high and hyperinflation, and government defaults on international and domestic debts--as well as the cycles in housing and equity prices, capital flows, unemployment, and government revenues around these crises. While countries do weather their financial storms, Reinhart and Rogoff prove that short memories make it all too easy for crises to recur.


An important book that will affect policy discussions for a long time to come, This Time Is Different exposes centuries of financial missteps.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 15729 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (11 September 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EYT932
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,625 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars 262 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Mr. Reinhart and Mr. Rogoff for making this subject clearer 23 January 2016
By Mark Ellins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I only give five stars for a book I believe will be relevant or universal throughout time. This book has proven without a doubt that countries or regions that go into serious debt, regardless of what century we are in, will cause financial crises. The book analyzes all aspects from many different regions but more in modern times. The title may be a little misleading as it does not provide equal data of centuries old crises just because we don’t have enough information. Massing large amounts of debt occurred in the Renaissance period and up into today but we only have good statistics about recent debt. Therefore, most of the book discusses the recent phenomena of economic crises. The book is trying to show that economic crises have commonalities regardless of the region but this gets unfocused as the book jumps from region to region and country to country. I wish they would’ve taken one example from the beginning until the crisis was resolved and explain step-by-step what occurred and what triggered the crisis and then mention if that phenomena occurred in other countries or regions. Instead the book has many graphs and charts that are convincing but do not dive into the subject and leave with a shallow understanding. But as I mentioned this book should be read by anyone that wants to understand basic foundations for an economic crisis and should definitely be read by our government and executive branch.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccable Historical Data and Historical Insights in 2009 Before the 2010 Tarnishing 3 July 2015
By Kathryn Pon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Carmen Rogoff is a leading expert on Third World financial crises. Ken Reinhart, former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, is a top international macroeconomist. Their reputation was tarnished in 2010 when their paper “Growth in a Time of Debt” was found to be not replicable without following their 1. coding error (excluding Australia, Canada and others from the data) 2. unconventional weighting of countries 3. selective/ excluding use of data. (unfortunately GIGO) Questioning their methodology then became generalized (their use of growth regression methodology) which grand scheme “solved” what to this reader looks like a chicken-egg analysis problem.

This book was written before their deification by pro-austerity, less-compassionate politicians. This book lays out the data and the small empirically based “aha's”, which investors can use to practical results. And their successful effort in this book is enormous, teasing out reliable historical data, never found before, especially from the Third World. Never underestimate the power of details. I admire this book completely for its precision. And the conclusion I can draw: Caveat Emptor. The future rhymes with the past. Do not confuse causation and correlation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a truly stellar book that everyone interested in economics 29 July 2016
By Peter Schaeffer - Published on Amazon.com
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This is a truly stellar book that everyone interested in economic and economic history should read. The level of historical analysis is quite high and the amount of detail is immense. That said, it is not an easy read. This is a dense, complex book. The authors write as academics, not entertainers. If you are looking for an economic version of "Game of Thrones", you won't find it. If you are looking for substance, this is very good starting (and ending) point.

The real point of the authors, is that every era thinks "This Time Is Different" and the truth is almost always otherwise. Debt, deficits, and default have been recurring themes throughout human history. They have happened many times before. They will happen many times again. The countries you think will never default, frequently do. Germany is generally regarded as one of the safest creditors in the world (these days). German history suggests otherwise. Greece has been in ruins (economic ruins) for almost 200 years.

The idea that Greece was ever a reasonable credit risk was (is) absurd. Yet, Greece could borrow at rock bottom interest rates for years after it joined the Euro system. Even now, Europe's leaders are trying to prevent a final default (wipe out) on Greek debt. History says that they will lose.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor for Paperwhite 7 June 2013
By GeoCitizen411 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I give this book five stars for content. I found it very interting and thought provoking. We always convince ourselves that this time it is going to be different but when when dealing with human traits (buy/sell/hold decisions fall into this category) it is never different. People haven't changed since we started roaming the planet, so why we expect things to be different is amazing.

The content is a bit intellectual, which isn't bad per se. Maybe because I mainly read before bed, I found it took more concentration to follow then the typical finance/economics stuff I read.

I give this book one star for its Kindle Paperwhite presentation. There are many charts and graphs supporting the text and they are very difficult to read, mainly due to contrast and shades of gray rendering. Perhaps on a color Kindle like Fire this won't be a problem but on the Paperwhite, it is a disaster. If you own a Paperwhite or probably any non-color Kindle, I would avoid buying this book. I feel I wasted my money.

While the charts/graphs are not critical to understanding the points he makes, they are copious and not having them to ponder as you read makes the book less fun.

I recommend the book(content), just not the Paperwhite presentation.
105 of 112 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Serious methodological flaws 27 October 2011
By Abacus - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
On April 15, 2013, a year and a half after I had first published this review a study by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin from the U of Massachusetts came out and refutted the authors main thesis that once a country reaches a Debt/GDP ratio of 90% sees its economic growth contract nearly automatically. This had become a covenant of libertarians such as Paul Ryan and Europeans promoting fiscal austerity. It turns out that Reinhart and Rogoff studies were completely wrong. R&R made numerous mistakes pointed out by the U of Mass team. The main one was to exclude three years out of the New Zealand data during a high Debt/GDP period. During those three excluded years New Zealand had grown very rapidly which contradicted R&R thesis. Once you make those corrections (including a few others that were minute by comparison), there is no statistical difference in growth rate between countries with high Debt/GDP ratio vs ones with lower ones. So much for Austerity. This is a devastating blow to what we thought was a classic study on the subject. Below see my original review. Notice that I had also observed many other flaws with their work but not the one mentioned above since I never saw the data firsthand.

This book is both fascinating and flawed. Starting with the flaws:

First, the book is mistitled. It covers the last 200 years not the last 800.

Second, their crisis framework is convoluted relative to the crystal clear framework of Charles Kindleberger in Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises (Wiley Investment Classics). The latter leans on the seminal work of Irving Fisher The Debt-Deflation Theory of Great Depressions and Hyman Minsky (the credit cycle exacerbates the business cycle) that the authors completely ignore.

Third, some of their analyses are obfuscating. They baffle the reader on how frequently emerging market countries default with surprisingly low external debt levels. Later, the authors clarify that debt levels are far higher when including domestic debt; then the baffling turns into the self-evident.

Fourth, in Chapter 16, their development of a crisis index measure is weak with no predictive power. The first two graphs capturing this index (ranging from 1 to 5) over the past 100 years have the wrong y-axis (ranging from 0 to 180?) rendering the graph incomprehensible (pg. 253, 254). Two pages later, they use the correct scale (1 - 5).

Fifth, the graph on page 267 denoting the % collapse of exports during the Great Depression has the wrong sign.

Sixth, some of their conclusions are already outdated. They advance that Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Spain are all doing better than in recent years. The book came out in 2009; didn't those countries show signs of fiscal stress? Since 1800, Greece suffered external debt defaults or rescheduling in over 50% of the years.

Seventh, their argument that large Current Account Deficits (CADs) fuel housing bubbles is not supported. When they show the magnitude of the rise in housing prices over 2002 - 2006 for many countries (Fig. 15.1), it is unclear if there are any relationship between high CAD and housing Bubbles. The housing bubble was far greater in many former USSR satellites than anywhere else (unclear if they had high CADs).

Moving on to the ambivalent OK parts:

1) Their early warning indicators of banking and currency crises (Table 17.1) are interesting. They indicate that 12 month changes in real housing and stock prices are good early signals for banking crises. They mention other metrics such as CAD levels. But, those indicators are unsupported by any statistical analysis.

Moving on to the good parts:

1) Their prototype sequencing of crises represents their best work. It shows how a nation can experience in succession financial deregulation, banking crisis, currency crash, inflation spike, and ultimately default. The tipping point is when a government faces an untenable choice between defending its currency (restrictive policies) and shoring up its financial sector (expansive policies). Governments invariably abandon supporting their currency.

2) Their historical data facilitate interesting observations:

2a) Crisis related to sovereign risks are so frequent, you wonder how countries ever manage to raise debt. While developed countries have "graduated" from defaults, they have not from banking crises. Since 1800, the UK, US, and France have experienced 12, 13, and 15 episodes of banking crises. Banking crises have been frequent since the 1980s. Developed countries are prone to banking crises because financial deregulation is a causal factor. In 18 of 26 banking crises observed since 1970, the financial sector had been liberalized within the preceding 5 years.

2b) Post WWII financial crises have been severe. On average, real housing prices decline by 35% over 6 years; stocks crash by 56% over 3.5 years; unemployment rate increases by 7 percentage points; GDP contracts by 9%; and, public debt rises by 86%.

2c) The US Subprime crisis was more severe than any other post WWII financial crisis. Its housing and stock market bubbles were more pronounced. The US CAD as a % of GDP was larger. The downturn in GDP was more severe. The resulting increase in public debt was faster. The ramp up of all mentioned indicators suggested a financial crisis was imminent. The authors remark that if the US had been an emerging market relying on external debt (in foreign currency), the US dollar value would have plummeted and interest rates soared.

3) When the authors move on to the US Subprime crisis, they note how the majority of experts, including Bernanke and Greenspan, were not concerned regarding the rising US Current Account Deficit (CAD) and rising housing prices. These experts stated the CAD and home price increases were associated with a World savings glut resulting from Asian export led economies. Meanwhile others (Rubini, Krugman, and the authors) were concerned about the CAD sustainability (absorbing 2/3d of World savings), housing prices (in real term rose by 92% between 1996 and 2006 or more than 3 x the 27% increase from 1890 to 1996! See graph pg. 207) and the massive increase in US household debt (rose from a norm of 80% of personal income to 130% by 2006).

If you are interested in this subject, I also recommend Raghuram Rajan's Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy [New in Paper].