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Greek Debt and American Debt: Graduation Speech at the University of Athens Economics and Business School



This is the graduation speech I gave on receiving an honorary doctorate at the University of Athens Economics and Business School. I talk about my Greek family, about how I got interested in economics, and then how in the 1990s I came to think about default, collateral, and leverage as the central features of the financial/macro economy, despite their complete absence (even now) from any textbooks. Finally I suggest that the Greek debt problem, and on a bigger scale, the American debt problem, can only be cured when lenders are prodded to forgive. That would be better for the borrowers but also for the lenders.

Suggested Citation

  • John Geanakoplos, 2011. "Greek Debt and American Debt: Graduation Speech at the University of Athens Economics and Business School," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1837, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1837

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrea Frazzini & Lasse H. Pedersen, 2012. "Embedded Leverage," NBER Working Papers 18558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Frazzini, Andrea & Pedersen, Lasse Heje, 2014. "Betting against beta," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 1-25.
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    More about this item


    Greek; Parents; Mathematical economics; Yale; Mortgage; Collateral; Securitization; Leverage; Foreclosure; Forgive; Principal;

    JEL classification:

    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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