ELE 3732 Financial bubbles, crashes and crises

ELE 3732 Financial bubbles, crashes and crises

Course code: 
ELE 3732
Department: 
Law and Governance
Credits: 
7.5
Course coordinator: 
Espen Ekberg
Product category: 
Bachelor
Portfolio: 
Bachelor - Electives
Semester: 
2019 Autumn
Active status: 
Active
Teaching language: 
English
Course type: 
One semester
Introduction

The objective if this course is twofold. First, to provide basic knowledge about the financial system and to present theories, concepts and historical cases relevant to the understanding of financial bubbles, crashes and crisis. Second, to facilitate learning through the systematic use of writing exercises and, consequently, to teach the students how to plan, structure and write an analytical text.  

Background and course content

According to an estimate from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), between 1970 and 2011 alone the world experienced no less 147 systemic banking crises, 218 currency crises and 66 sovereign debt crises. Such financial crises often have devastating effects on the operation of the general economy: they cause decline in investment spending, reductions in business profits, and an increase the number of bankruptcies. They also increase unemployment levels and reduce overall household income. According to figures from The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates in USA more than doubled in the years immediately following the financial crisis of 2008. This crisis – often termed The Great Recession or The Subprime Crisis – spread globally and caused, according to one estimate, an increase in global unemployment of about 50 million and an increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty of about 200 million (Stiglitz, 2010, p. 346). 

What are the fundamental characteristics of financial crisis and why do they appear so frequently? How does the macroeconomic climate affect the occurrence of financial crisis? Are financial crises more frequent today than before? How have existing crises been solved historically and what can be done to prevent them in the future?  These are some of the questions we ask, discuss, and try to answer in this course. As the student’s will experience, there exist many different and often competing theories about the causes and effects of financial crisis and how to deal with them. This course provides an overview of these approaches. In addition, it introduces the students to a number of historical case studies of financial bubbles, crashes and crises. The idea is that by investigating past experiences of financial crisis we can recognize patterns in how the crises evolved and also evaluate how they were handled. Such historical knowledge may in turn help shed light on how to deal with and assessing future risks of crisis in the economy and how to deal with such crisis.

Besides regular lectures and group work the teaching of this class will be conducted trough the systematic use of writing exercises. The students will be asked to hand in two written assignments during the semester. These make up a major backbone of the final exam, which will consist of an academic essay presenting and discussing major concepts, theories and historical cases of financial crises.

The course will thus provide the students both with knowledge about a fundamental part of the market economy (the financial sector) and how and why this sector historically has experienced repeated and severe crises, and improve their skills in writing analytical texts. This skill does not only represent a valuable preparation for writing the bachelor thesis, but is also fundamental to any job attainable for a graduated business school student

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

During the course students shall acquire:

  • Knowledge about fundamental concepts (such as money and debt), about financial institutions (such as banks and regulatory authorities) and about the larger macroeconomic environment in which the financial sector is situated.
  • A broad base of theoretical and empirical knowledge about financial stability and financial crises in an international and historical perspective.
  • In-debt knowledge about historical cases of financial crisis.
  • Basic knowledge about how to plan, structure and write an analytical text.
Learning outcomes - Skills

After completed course students should be able to:

  • Critically and systematically present and discuss concepts, institutions and macroeconomic structures central to the understanding of the financial system and to present their analysis in writing.
  • Distinguish between different theories on the causes and effects of financial bubbles, crashes and crises, to apply this knowledge for analytical purposes and to present their analysis in writing.
General Competence

After completed course students should be able to:

  • Reflect on how theories of social phenomena – such as financial crises – are constructed, contested and developed, including how differences in methodological approach may affect our understanding of social processes.
  • Reflect on the various ethical dilemmas connected to the development of financial crises and the different ways of solving them.
  • Reflect on the role of international finance in the future development of a sustainable economy.
  • Reflect on the value of historical knowledge for the understanding of present day problems.
Course content

The course will be divided in a theoretical and a more empirical, or historical, part. In addition, the students will work on their academic essay throughout the entire semester.  

The theoretical part will

  • Present a number of basic concepts and issues necessary to understand the development of financial crisis.
  • Describe the most important institutions within the financial sector and how international finance has developed over time.
  • Discuss a number of existing theories of financial crises

The empirical, or historical, part will present a number of historical case studies of financial crises, including

  • The Wall Street crash, the Great Depression and the crises of the 1930s,
  • The Nordic banking crisis of the 1990s, and
  • The Financial crisis of 2008.

The final academic essay will consist of three main parts. Drafts of the two first parts should be handed in and evaluated at set dates during the semester. Altogether there are then three assignments:

  • First individual assignment: Concepts and institutions
  • Second individual assignment: Theories of financial crises
  • Final individual assignment/Exam: Concepts/institutions, theories and case discussion

 

Teaching and learning activities

The course consists of lectures, discussion groups, class discussions, writing exercises, written assignments and student peer review. The students should bring their laptops (or other writing instrument) to every lecture.

During the course, two assignments  will be given on Itslearning. The assignments must be solved individually, and the lecturer – as well as fellow students – will provide feedback on the assignments. These assignments are not mandatory (and will not be graded), but it is highly recommended to hand them in. In order to be evaluated, the assignments have to be delivered on the agreed date and time.

The two, revised, assignments form a major basis for the final assignment/exam, which is mandatory and should be handed in at the end of the semester in DigiEx.

The lectures and the written assignments should also prepare the students for the individual short-answer exam, held after the final assignment has been handed in.

Software tools
Software defined under the section "Teaching and learning activities".
Additional information

For electives re-sit is normally offered at the next scheduled course. If an elective is discontinued or is not initiated in the semester it is offered, re-sit will be offered in the electives ordinary semester.

There will be re-sit examination in Exam code ELE 37321 last time autumn 2019.

Qualifications

Higher Education Entrance Qualification.

Required prerequisite knowledge

No specific prerequisites required.

Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationSupport materialsGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Submission
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
ELE 37322
Grading scale:
ECTS
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Resit:
Examination when next scheduled course
70No5 Week(s)Individual The two previous, revised, assignments form a major basis for the final assignment, and should be handed in at the end of the semester in DigiEx.
Exam category:
Submission
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
ELE 37323
Grading scale:
ECTS
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Resit:
Examination when next scheduled course
30Yes1,5 Hour(s)
  • Bilingual dictionary
Individual Short-answer exam designed to test students' recall of facts and course material and to demonstrate their understanding of that knowledge.
Exams:
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Weight:70
Invigilation:No
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
Duration:5 Week(s)
Comment:The two previous, revised, assignments form a major basis for the final assignment, and should be handed in at the end of the semester in DigiEx.
Exam code:ELE 37322
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Weight:30
Invigilation:Yes
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
  • Bilingual dictionary
Duration:1,5 Hour(s)
Comment:Short-answer exam designed to test students' recall of facts and course material and to demonstrate their understanding of that knowledge.
Exam code:ELE 37323
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
100
Workload activityDurationType of durationComment student effort
Teaching30Hour(s)The teaching consists of lectures, discussion groups, class discussions and writing exercises
Prepare for teaching82Hour(s)Read curriculum and discuss in study groups
Submission(s)82Hour(s)During the course, two assignments will be given on Itslearning. The assignments must be solved individually and handed in at the set date and time. These assignments are not mandatory (and will not be graded). The assignments form a major basis for the final essay/exam.
Review of assignments in plenary6Hour(s)Evaluation and student peer review of written assignments.
Expected student effort:
Workload activity:Teaching
Duration:30 Hour(s)
Comment:The teaching consists of lectures, discussion groups, class discussions and writing exercises
Workload activity:Prepare for teaching
Duration:82 Hour(s)
Comment:Read curriculum and discuss in study groups
Workload activity:Submission(s)
Duration:82 Hour(s)
Comment:During the course, two assignments will be given on Itslearning. The assignments must be solved individually and handed in at the set date and time. These assignments are not mandatory (and will not be graded). The assignments form a major basis for the final essay/exam.
Workload activity:Review of assignments in plenary
Duration:6 Hour(s)
Comment:Evaluation and student peer review of written assignments.
Sum workload: 
200

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.