The Great American Housing Bubble
The Road to Collapse
by Robert M. Hardaway
February 2011, 256pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38228-4
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38229-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Financial bubbles have at least two things in common: they have always existed, and they always burst. The recent collapse of the American housing market points to our failure to learn the policy lessons laid out in the onset and resolution of previous bubbles. Is more government regulation the answer—or was such regulation part of the problem?

This meticulously documented work sets forth the major causes of the greatest asset bubble in world economic history—the American housing bubble, which began in 1940 and collapsed in 2007.

In the aftermath of the American housing collapse in 2007, many ask why. The Great American Housing Bubble: The Road to Collapse asks a different and more fundamental question—how the bubble was created in the first place. To answer that question, it examines the causes, both political and economic, of the American housing bubble, created between 1940 and 2007.

Those causes encompass everything from federal income tax subsidies for housing to local exclusionary policies, banking, accounting, real estate appraisal, and credit agency rating practices and policies. The book also takes into account the impact of greed, government regulation, speculation, and psychology—including blind faith in investment advisors—on the creation of the greatest asset bubble in the economic history of the world. The author takes a comparative historical approach, examining the current crisis in the light of notorious bubbles of the past. In the end, he concludes that the events precipitating the most recent collapse can be traced, at least in part, not to too little government regulation, but to too much.


  • Extracts from major legislation—federal, state, and local—that promoted the creation of the housing bubble
  • An introductory essay illuminating the broad features of Western capitalism and the financial and government institutions that have evolved to promote and regulate it, notably in the United States
  • A detailed chronology orienting readers to the sequence and context of events
  • A glossary of important financial and regulatory terms and terms used by those in the housing industry
  • An appendix of governmental agencies and private institutions and think tanks involved in various aspects of the financial crisis
  • A bibliography listing hundreds of sources, from articles and periodicals to books and treatises
Robert M. Hardaway is professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, CO; cum laude graduate of Amherst College, Amherst, MA; and Order of the Coif graduate of New York University School of Law, New York, NY. He teaches civil procedure, evidence, and transportation law, and has taught constitutional law and criminal procedure. A former Deputy District Attorney for Arapahoe County, Colorado; Colorado Public Defender; and U.S. Navy JAG attorney, he has also taught at George Washington University Law School and Hastings Law School. Hardaway is the author of dozens of law review articles and 17 books and casebooks on law and public policy, as well as five published novels. His opinion editorials have been published in the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.
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