Robert Shiller's Real Track Record

by: Eddy Elfenbein

At Deal Breaker, Bess Levin highlights Alan Greenspan’s predictive abilities. In the linked NY Post article, I was left speechless by Terry Keenan’s touting of Robert Shiller’s track record.

No wonder the average homeowner is confused. That's why when I want to really know about the real state of the real estate market, I want to hear from someone who has been predicting this whole debacle for years now - a spot-on observer like Robert Shiller of Yale University.

Shiller is in no need of reputation repair. Not only did he warn of the housing mess, he also called the Internet bubble with remarkable precision in his book "Irrational Exuberance."

Sorry Terry, but Shiller hasn’t been spot on—he’s been way off the mark. Shiller is a perma-bear and investors who followed his advice lost out in a big way. In the last five years, the S&P 500 has doubled. Shiller missed that and every other rally. He was a bear long before the market nose-dived and he’s continued to be a bear ever since.

For some reason, there seems to be a strong bias to celebrate people who warn of market crashes. Perhaps it’s more dramatic. If you’re always warnings of a market crash, guess what? Sooner or later you’re going to be right! You're suddenly a wise market observer. No matter what you say after, your reputation can live off that forever. The people who make the undramatic prediction “no, don’t worry, everything’s ok” rarely get credit for being right.