# Why Finance?

This lecture gives a brief history of the young field of financial theory, which began in business schools quite separate from economics, and of my growing interest in the field and in Wall Street. A cornerstone of standard financial theory is the efficient markets hypothesis, but that has been discredited by the financial crisis of 2007-09. This lecture describes the kinds of questions standard financial theory nevertheless answers well. It also introduces the leverage cycle as a critique of standard financial theory and as an explanation of the crisis. The lecture ends with a class experiment illustrating a situation in which the efficient markets hypothesis works surprisingly well.

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- Why Finance?
- Utilities, Endowments, and Equilibrium
- Computing Equilibrium
- Efficiency, Assets, and Time
- Present Value Prices and the Real Rate of Interest
- Irving Fisher's Impatience Theory of Interest
- Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice and Collateral, Present Value and the Vocabulary of Finance
- How a Long-Lived Institution Figures an Annual Budget Yield
- Yield Curve Arbitrage
- Dynamic Present Value
- Financial Implications of US Social Security System
- Overlapping Generations Models of the Economy
- Will the Stock Market Decline when the Baby Boomers Retire?
- Quantifying Uncertainty and Risk
- Uncertainty and the Rational Expectations Hypothesis
- Backward Induction and Optimal Stopping Times
- Callable Bonds and the Mortgage Prepayment Option
- Modeling Mortgage Prepayments and Valuing Mortgages
- Dynamic Hedging
- Dynamic Hedging and Average Life
- Risk Aversion and CAPM
- The Mutual Fund Theorem and Covariance Pricing Theorems
- Risk, Return, and Social Security
- Leverage Cycle and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis
- Shadow Banking: Parallel and Growing?

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