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Who Predicted the Financial Crisis

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis and Ensuing Economic Crisis - Who's Who of the US Economy - Who's Who of Wall Street

Research Questions:

  • Who predicted the financial crisis and the ensuing economic crisis?
  • Is there a documented evidence supporting their claims?
  • Were those who warned about the crisis lucky? Or did they have a clear logic behind their predictions?
  • Can we use their knowledge to predict future crises?
  • What are their future predictions?
  • How do their predictions compare with each other? Where do the experts agree and where do they disagree?
  • How accurate are their economic predictions? Can they be relied on for investment decisions?

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Research Findings:

To answer the preceding questions, we started with the obvious question: Who predicted the financial crisis?. We Googled the question to identify specific prediction statements and warnings. We wanted concrete answers from credible experts. We did not consider generic theories and lucky guesses.

The following section summarizes our research results.

It is a globally accepted fact that top world governments, central banks, economists, investment bankers and financial journalists were caught off guard by the financial crisis and the ensuing economic crisis of 2008-2009. In the U.S., George Bush Administration, his top economic advisors, the Treasury Secretary, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and the world's top investment banks did not foresee the financial collapse on Wall Street until it was too late. Only a few experts emerged with credible early warnings, but they were ignored, dismissed or ridiculed by everyone else. These experts are the subject of this research section

The Difficulty in Economic Forecasting

Financial Economics is a young and developing science. We've found evidence of conflicting theories, decision models and opinions from many award-winning and respected economists. Unlike other sciences, the difficulty with the economics comes mainly from the predictive function in managing the supply and demand and the need for financial economists to forecast future performance of financial assets based on very large number of variables, economic indicators and events.

On the topic of the difficulty in predicting future economic events, we looked at the top two most well-known investors and the top two most well-known economists

The Top Two Most Well-Known Investors

The first investor is George Soros, who became one of the world's richest people by predicting the UK currency collapse and betting against it, and the second is Warren Buffett, who is known as the "Oracle of Omaha" for his ability to manage one of the highest performance investment funds until he was hit by the financial crisis.

George Soros acquired an ill-fated stake in Lehman Brothers just before the investment bank failed in 2008. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and its investors lost billions of dollars during the financial crisis. In a May 2010 interview with the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) that was created to examine the root cause of the Crisis, Warren Buffett, said "no one saw the housing bubble". Buffett defended the role that Moody's and other rating agencies played in the financial crisis, even as the industry missed the signs of an impending housing market collapse. "In this particular case, I think they made virtually the same mistake everyone else made." - He said that he underestimated the impact of the crisis and by the time he realize it, it was too late for him to do something about it. - (Source: FCIC.GOV Video Testimony and CNN Money News Report)

One must wonder how the "Oracle" and the manager of one of the world's largest investment funds, staffed with top economists and financial analysts, miss on systemic risks of such as large scale.

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

The Top Two Most Well-Known Economists

The US top economist, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, testified at the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). He said: "We knew all those numbers, of course. But a lot of smart people -- and you asked the question about anticipation, people like Paul Volcker (Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve) and others thought it was going to cause a crisis. But they got it wrong. They thought it was going to cause a dollar crash. It didn’t do that. It caused a different kind of crisis. Just another example of how difficult it is to predict. (Source: FCIC.GOV)

His predecessor, Alan Greenspan called the financial crisis “a once-in-a-century event” whose consequences proved far more devastating than had been widely expected. “We all misjudged the risks involved,” he said. “Everybody missed it -- academia, the Federal Reserve, all regulators.”   - (Source: Bloomberg News)

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Our Research Conclusions:

We believe that Alan Greenspan's statement “Everybody missed it -- academia, the Federal Reserve, all regulators.”   is untrue. We found several credible early warnings and independently verified evidence outlining the risks. 

Greenspan's statement “a once-in-a-century event” is erroneous. The Great Depression 1928, was followed by several financial crises and bursting bubbles in the '60's, '70's and '80's in the US and other markets around the world, shows that either he is misinformed or suffers from selective memory bias.

In the investment world, there are several anecdotal evidences showing that some investors made a lot of money and profited from understanding key functions and relationships in financial economics. In the past, George Soros profited from predicting the UK currency collapse. The most recent example is John Paulson, who profited from betting on the burst of subprime mortgages at the heart of the housing bubble and 2008-2009 economic crisis.

There are also at least three documented cases of experts who foresaw the financial crisis and warned about its impact on the economy. To others, they seemed lucky, but the evidence suggests that these professionals knew something that others didn't and they believed in it to the point of risking their reputation and careers.

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Who are the experts who predicted the financial crisis and the ensuing economic crisis? What were their warnings?

To find the answers, we started by Googling the phrase: Who predicted the financial crisis. We found many news stories and articles. Most of the articles were marketing articles rather than investigative journalism. The few academic research papers that we found were written by those who missed the crisis. The research papers were either incomplete or contaminated with biases justifying why no one predicted the crisis.

As researchers we were skeptical too. But unlike our professors, who we cannot name here for obvious reasons, we did not have ego issues to stop us from keeping an open mind. We also were wary of the many marketing statements associated with some of the economists such as Nostradamus, Dr. Doom, Economic Gurus, Oracles or Prophets. We understand the need of PR professionals to promote their clients or writers to attract the attention of the readers. But rather than believing or disbelieving these articles, we focused on the predictive statements from the experts and their dates.

Our initial research identified three credible early warnings and we suspect that we will find more by the time we complete our research project. The most well documented predictions come from three experts. They are, in order of prediction date; Dean Baker, Med Jones and Peter Schiff

  • Housing Bubble Sitters - A warning by Dean Baker (August 25, 2005)

  • US Economic Risks 2007-2017  - A warning by Med Jones (June 2, 2006)

  • International Monetary Fund Seminar - A warning by Nouriel Roubini (Sept 13, 2007) - After initially removing Dr Nouriel Roubini from the list due to lack of documented evidence. We received an email on April 19,2011 with a copy of the IMF transcript. (please see Correction Note)
  • Fox News Debate  - A warning by Peter Schiff (Dec 16, 2006)
  • Others? If you have more information about other experts who predicted the financial crisis and gave warning before August of 2007 please email us with the information to add to the list. (see Qualification Criteria below)

Who are these experts?

Dean Baker is an economist who warned about the crisis earlier than all the other experts, but was mostly ignored because he went silent on the topic in 2006 & 2007.

Med Jones, a strategy expert who is lesser known than the remaining expert but produced the most accurate predictions among them.

Nouriel Roubini is an economist and a media darling. He is the most popular among those who predicted the crisis, although recent journalistic investigation reports challenge the date and the content of his predictions. We are still reviewing evidence to determine whether to include him or remove him from the list. (See notes below the next table)

Peter Schiff is an investment manager, also widely covered by the media and is most popular with the Tea Party. He was the economic advisor of Ron Paul - A Republican Presidential Candidate - and a Tea Party favorite.

The most bearish of the four is Peter Schiff. The least bearish is Med Jones.

The following table compares the first documented public warnings (and predictions) by each expert, their dates and sources:

Wall Street / Economic Predictions

Dean Baker
Date & Source

Med Jones
Date & Source

Nouriel Roubini
Date & Source

Peter Schiff
Date & Source

Housing bubble burst, financial markets risks and the impact on the US Economy July 21, 2005
CEPR
Note: (1)
June 2, 2006
US Economy Risks
September 7, 2006
IMF Seminar
Correction
Note (2)
December 16, 2006
Fox News Debate

It was not enough for us to take their prediction statements in isolation and judge their accuracy. We had to read a several articles (see table below comparing economic predictions) to understand the underlying thesis of each expert and see if they were consistent in their core arguments.

Note (1) The link to Dean Baker's document shows a date of 2002, but the file was last modified in July 21, 2005 and the first independent reference to the paper that we found is on August 2005 on the Bankrate website. Nevertheless, the dates of his report and the public warning on Bank rate are before our chosen cut-off date of September 18, 2007 - Which is the date of the first public warning about the housing bubble and its impact on the economy by Alan Greenspan, the former Fed Chairman (Source: PBS TV Channel).
Before that date, few news reports came out on the subprime trouble at some investment funds. The mainstream economists and media were not able to connect the dots to see the scale of the subprime mortgages and its potential impact on the financial markets and the economy. To Dean Baker's credit, he did warn the public about the housing bubble and its impact on the economy before all the other experts. The strange thing about the warning is that Mr. Baker went silent on the issue after 2005. It appears that after his prediction did not come true in earlier years (from 2002 to 2005), he dropped his conclusions and kept quiet about the issue until May 2008 when he took a credit for predicting the housing bubble. Although he appears to be the first to predict the crisis, all the credit in the media went to Nouriel Roubini and Peter Schiff.

 Correction Note Dr. Nouriel Roubini (Dr. Doom) claims that he warned the public about the crisis in 2006 at an IMF speech. We found no documented evidence of the transcript of the said speech. To make things worse, Dr. Roubini was challenged by another economist Dr. Anirvan Banerji who participated with Roubini in a panel discussion. He says that a transcript of that event shows that Roubini did not predict a market meltdown or any of the other problems he now claims to have predicted. Banerji says that The justification for his bearish call has evolved over the yearsBanerji went on, "ticking off the different reasons that Roubini has used to justify his predictions of recessions and crises."  (Source: New York Times & Eric Tyson)

Research Conclusion (April 4, 2011):

Initial research found the only documented evidence shows that Nouriel Roubini warned about the crisis on September 13, 2007 at an IMF seminar. According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) position paper, the crisis started in August 2007. By August 2007 the sub-prime crisis became known to several insiders and economists. Alan Greenspan, the former Fed Chairman warned about the subprime crisis in September of 2007 in a PBS interview, so no one can take credit for predicting the crisis after August 2007. If we do not receive the transcript of the IMF speech of 2006, then we cannot in good conscience support the claims that Dr. Roubini predicted the financial crisis. If you disagree with the research conclusions, please send us the missing transcript of IMF speech of 2006 at

research {at} economicpredictions.org

Research Conclusion (April 19, 2011)

After releasing a press release about the research results of April 4, 2011 and contacting several journalists for fact checking, we received an email from ECRI with a copy of the IMF transcript. We studies the transcript in details. We verified that Dr Roubini in fact did warn about the housing bubble and its economic impact in the IMF transcript of September 7, 2006. (We are waiting for permission to republish the full IMF transcript. However, we published the relevant statements from the transcript and various predictions above. (please read the above table)

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Where those experts lucky in their predictions?

Based on their statements (see below economic predictions summary), their logic in arriving at their conclusions and the way they risked their reputation in going against mainstream economists and media, we believe it would be unfair to discredit them as lucky.

What is interesting is that although they warned about the same crisis, the differences in their conclusions are not in the causes, but in the timing and the severity of how the crisis unfolded and will continue to unfold.

Peter Schiff  is more bearish and dramatic in their prediction warning about "doom" and "gloom" "cataclysmic", "economic collapse" and "catastrophic" events. On the other hand, Dean Baker and Med Jones were less bearish in their assessment of the impact, using more measured words like "crisis", "sharp correction" and "deep recessions"

Our conclusion is that the crisis was predicted by at least three experts. This confirms the earlier conclusions of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC.GOV) that the crisis was avoidable. Although statistically extraordinary in their predictions of the economic crisis, these experts remain untapped by the government and academia. While their record of predicting the timing of economic events is not perfect, we would have liked to see more research done by scientific, educational and media communities to capture their logic and thinking that led them to foresee the crisis with such certainty.

Research Note: The fact that these experts predicted the crisis does not mean that they have the correct formula for predicting other economic events. Non of them have a track record of flawless predictions. However to their credit they came closer than most economists did. As you will see later in the research report, there is no single formula for financial and economic forecasting. While some formulas work in certain environment, they do not work in others. The scientists, investors and government policy makers could create a set of predictive tools that implement the learned lessons and prevent future economic crises and financial losses. The other lesson we learned is that we should not ignore expert opinions based on lack of popularity and we should be aware for our decision biases.

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Predictions Summary and Thesis

The next section summarizes their predictions and the thesis of each economist behind their conclusions

Dean Baker Predictions and Thesis (July 21, 2005)

In a CEPR research paper titled: The Run-Up in Home Prices: Is it Real or Is it Another Bubble?, Dean Baker wrote: "A sharp drop in home prices will send this ratio far below its previous low point. Since there are considerable differences in housing markets across the country, if housing prices fall 10 percent nationally, then many regions will see price declines of 20-30 percent...In the late eighties Japan experienced a simultaneous bubble in its stock market and its real estate market. The collapse of these bubbles has derailed its economy for more than a decade. A similar collapse in the United States, coupled with a poor policy response, could have similar consequences here." - (See more detailed information at Dean Baker Predictions)

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Med Jones Predictions and Thesis (June 2, 2006)

In an IIM research paper titled US Economic Risks and Strategies 2007-2017, Med Jones wrote: "The economic real growth is much less than advertised. Since 2001, economic growth has been largely fueled by rapid increases in asset prices (housing bubble) and expanding consumer debt rather than development projects, which results in non-sustainable and unhealthy (debt-driven) growth...Many Americans refinanced their homes during the real-estate boom to pay for living expenses. With the expected housing bubble bust (declining housing values), Americans could lose a significant part of their savings". He also warned specifically about the crisis caused by the subprime mortgages bankruptcies and loss of confidence in the US economy, followed by global socioeconomic challenges driven by sovereign debt, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid crisis, individual states bankruptcies crisis, EU debt crisis, global inflation and potential US currency crises between 2007 and 2017 (See more detailed information at Med Jones Predictions)

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Peter Schiff Predictions and Thesis (December 16, 2006)

In various TV interviews, Peter Schiff said, the US economy is not strong. The housing market will crash and we will have high unemployment. He foresees US defaulting on its debt and the collapse of the US dollar along with hyperinflation (becoming like Zimbabwe) (See more detailed information at Peter Schiff Predictions )

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Comparing Economic Predictions

Who Predicted What and When?
What do the experts agree on and where do they disagree?

The following is a comparative prediction table showing prediction statements, dates, and references
 

Wall Street / Economic Predictions

Dean Baker
Date & Source

Med Jones
Date & Source

Peter Schiff
Date & Source

Nouriel Roubini
Date & Source
Correction
Note (2)

Housing bubble burst, financial markets risks and the impact on the US Economy July 21, 2005
CEPR
June 2, 2006
US Economy Risks
December 16, 2006
Fox News Debate
September 13, 2007 - IMF Seminar
See Correction
Note
The Subprime, equity markets and the Economic Crisis N/A March 11, 2007
Reuters Warning
December 16, 2006
Fox News
September 13, 2007 - IMF Seminar
See Correction
Note
Economic recession bottom in 2009 and modest recovery in 2010 N/A July 1, 2009
Prague Post
(Wrong)
No economic recovery for years
(Wrong)
Said No recovery in 2009
August 4, 2008 Investment News
Q4 2009 saw growth at 5.7 Worldbank
EU debt crisis and austerity measures N/A Dec 27, 2009
Daily Business Latvia

(translated content)

N/A May 2010
Money Central
Stock markets will rally in 2010 N/A March 25, 2009
Good Bank vs. Bad Bank
(Wrong)
Said no Stock rally
N/A
Stock volatility in 2009 and 2010 N/A Jan 14, 2009
Fleet Owner Magazine
N/A N/A
Unemployment in 2009 N/A June 23, 2009
Special Economic Report
N/A N/A
Unemployment in 2010 will decrease N/A N/A N/A (Wrong)
Said unemployment will be worse.
Jan 26, 2009
Mind Post
Dollar will decline N/A June 23, 2009
US Economic Recovery
Will Decline 40 to 70%
November 9, 2009
Fox Business News (Dollar =Zero)
N/A
Gold will rise in 2010 N/A July 1, 2009
Prague Post
Sep 9, 2009
Daily Finance

Partially true. Gold risen to about $1400. But way off the mark. His estimates were $5000

(Wrong)
Said Gold is bubble
Dec, 15, 2009 Project Syndicate
Oil prices will cross $100 N/A Jan 3, 2011
Global Investment Outlook 2011
N/A (Wrong)
Said Oil will remain $40
January 20, 2009
Bloomberg
Oil prices will cross $150 in 3-5 year N/A Jan 3, 2011
Global Investment Outlook 2011
N/A N/A
Deflation and Inflation N/A October 9, 2008 CEO Q (Wrong)
August 8, 2007
Fox News
Inflation in 2008 & 2009
N/A
Inflation will cause unrest in emerging markets (Middle East) N/A October 9, 2008, CEO Q via  Wall Street Italia
(Italian and English)
N/A N/A
Debt crisis around 2015 N/A June 23, 2009
US Economic Recovery
N/A N/A
Housing market improvement N/A N/A N/A  
Social Security Deficit Problem

(Wrong)
Jan 23, 2005
No Social Security Problems
University of Chicago Press

June 23, 2009
US Economic Recovery
N/A N/A

N/A: Not Available (No Prediction or we did not find the statements yet). If you have information, please email us at research {at} economicpredictions.org

If you consider only the independently documented evidence, the earliest prediction among the experts came from Dean Baker and the most accurate predictions came from Med Jones. Nouriel Roubini's predictions lagged behind the other experts and Peter Schiff's predictions were the most bearish. If you have information to help us improve our research, please email us and include a substantiating evidence.

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

How accurate are their predictions? Can they be relied on for investment decisions

Take the statement "Great minds think alike". We could not help but notice how similar is the economic analysis of the four experts and yet wonder how they arrived at different conclusions in the details of their predictions? There is no easy way to summarize their differences without reading their material in total. We'll let the readers judge for themselves

Dean Baker's Predictions

Med Jones' Predictions

Peter Schiff's Predictions

Nouriel Roubini's Predictions

You can also see

Economic Prediction Index

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - The Qualification Criteria

How did we arrive at those four experts? And what is the qualification criteria for inclusion in the list of economists who predicted the financial crisis?

Initially, the research was aimed at evaluating the accuracy and the applicability of the predictions of the world's top economists, Wall Street analysts and investment advisors. In order to get an accurate collective picture, we needed to short list the economic experts. In the beginning, we were inclined to go with award-winning economists or the chief economists who work for top investment banks or think tanks, or analysts who write for top financial media. As a result we ended up with a long list of experts published at the home page of this website. Our intellectual honesty demanded that we do not make our selection based on popularity, but rather on the accuracy of the experts' predictions.

While doing the research we came across this shocking data: "On a global basis, $50 trillion dollars in global wealth has been erased over the last 18 months. This includes $7 trillion dollars in US stock market wealth which has vanished, and $6 trillion dollars in housing wealth that has been destroyed (Source: CBS News March 13, 2009).

The crisis had another outcome that might be even more damaging in the long-term. The fall-out has cost the government some $10 trillion in bail-out money, resulting in increased budget deficits, major cutbacks in public services, the loss of the life savings of million of families, and the loss of millions of homes and jobs. Today there is an increased risk of declining currencies in US and Europe, increased inflationary pressures and a significant erosion of trust in the competency and morality our banks and governments.

It became obvious for us that the litmus test for an economist was the latest US financial crisis at the epicenter of the global economic crisis. If an economist did not warn about the housing bubble and its serious impact on the financial markets and the economy, then we could not in good conscience include him in the list, regardless of his previously earned prestigious awards and media coverage. Missing a crisis of this magnitude questions the credibility, the abilities and policy recommendations of the economist or investment advisor.

We had to ask three questions to qualify the economists or experts

  1. Did the economist predict the latest financial crisis or just claim that he did? Was his predictive statement documented in the news media or by reputable independent source, like a public conference?
  2. Was the economist specific about the crisis, its impact and its root causes? Or was he just bearish in his general outlook and simply got lucky? Any generic warning about the correction of the housing prices is not without a reference to the subprime crisis or the severe impact on the economy.
  3. When did the economist actually predict the crisis? Our research reveals that the global financial crisis began with a series events in August 2007 – when BNP Paribas froze access to two of funds, which were based on sub-prime assets. It is safe to say that several insiders became aware of the subprime issue at some of the individual banks that were involved in subprime mortgages. Even fewer, if any, were able to connect the dots to see the subprime problem as a threat to the financial system and the economy. One of our readers suggested that the official month of U.S. subprime mortgage collapse should be in August 2007 instead of September 2007. The supporting evidence is found in a position paper issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  We considered that correction request. The new cut off date is August 2007.
    In September of 2007 former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned about the housing bubble in the public media - (Source PBS) reversing his long-held position that there was no housing bubble. After that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Herny Paulson expressed alarm about the dangers posed by the bursting housing bubble to the US economy - (Source AFP). Over the next 12 months, events accelerated until the crisis peaked in September of 2008 with the collapse of Lehman Brothers that sent shockwaves around the world. We found a statement by Larry Summers, former Chief Economic Advisor for the US government on CBS News, stating: "On a global basis, $50 trillion dollars in global wealth has been erased over the last 18 months. (Source: CBS News) March 13, 2009.  (When we correlated that statement from the US official top economic advisor, we found that it validates our chosen date for the beginning of the crisis). Therefore we decided that the most logical cut-off date is the month of August 2007. Any statement offering warning about the financial crisis after that date cannot be given much credit. 

Correction Note:

The results from the first set of questions eliminated most of the world's economists, including Nobel Prize winners, celebrated economists, financial wizards, economic policy makers, and investment advisors. This does not take away from their intelligence, it simply shows they were wrong and that their decision models and policies must be corrected.

The results from the second set of questions eliminated several authors and reputed economists who warned the public about an economic crisis as early as the '90's, but who were not specific about the root causes or stated other reasons for the recession. Also, predicting a single event such as a housing sector correction doesn't mean the expert foresaw the multidimensional complex impact that led to the crisis. Unless the expert warned about an economic crisis as a result of the financial crisis, caused by the housing bubble and high levels of debt, he was not included in the list.

The results from the third question eliminated many experts and media commentators including MSNBC, MS Money, Fortune, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Bloomberg - some of whom were shamelessly promoting themselves among the experts who did predict the crisis. In an effort to attract more traffic and readers, their editors appear to have lowered their journalistic and editorial standards. Some commentators warned about some aspects of the banking sector but they did not warn about the economic crisis and were not specific enough about the impact or the root causes. Some even wrote articles assuring the readers that the US financial sector and the economy were strong.

Among the names who claimed that they predicted the crisis but did not qualify into the list are Jon Markman and Jim Jubak. Although they recognized the risks earlier than many of their colleagues, they cannot be credited with predicting the crisis.

We received a suggestion to add Gillian Tett, a Financial Times journalist as one of the expert who predict the crisis. We found media articles in 2008 claiming that she predicted the crisis in 2006, but we did not find any documented evidence supporting that claim. We ask our readers if they have evidence to email us at research {at} economicpredictions.org

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Research Comment on Financial Journalism:
The unintended consequence of this research is the questioning of the quality the of financial journalism by Wall Street media and journalists who publicized that Dr Nouriel Roubini predicted the financial crisis without sufficient supporting evidence.

Several TV anchors and financial journalists introduced Dr. Roubini as the expert who predicted the financial crisis. Among these media outlets are Bloomberg, Time Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The Guardian (UK), Telegraph (UK), Financial Times, and the Economist. After one of the major media outlets published a story about how Roubini supposedly predicted the crisis, most of the reporters appear to function as copycats more than investigative journalists. Few journalists and authors did not accept the media hype without supporting facts, among hem are Eric Tyson, a well-known financial author and Charlie Gasparino a renowned financial journalist.

Researchers are naturally skeptical but should not be biased. Many economists and investors who missed the crisis are quick to dismiss Dr Nouriel Roubini as lucky or claim that no one could have predicted the crisis. The motivation is self-serving. It is difficult to accept that there are few people out there who could be that much more smarter than the rest of the world who failed to foresee the crisis. The research goal is not to credit or discredit Dr Roubini or others. The goal is to get the facts right and learn from the crisis. The research project casts serious doubts about Roubini's predictions or forecasts and their value in making investment decisions.  (See wrong predictions at Nouriel Roubini Predictions)

On the other hand, the research found several experts who actually predicted the crisis and warned about the crisis publicly yet received far less media coverage. For examples, Dean Baker warned about the crisis earlier than most and Med Jones had the most accurate predictions. Both were barely covered by the media. Other experts who warned about the housing bubble, subprime mortgages and their impact on the economy are Peter Schiff, Brooksley Born, Robert Gnaizda, and Bill Ackman. (we will publish more information about them soon)

Mainstream media should also take responsibility for promoting the illusions of a healthy housing sector and for not asking the right questions. Many media outlets favor a promotional business model at the expense of investigative journalism. The research found a prevalent bias in allocating airwaves and print space to brand name experts. Most journalists and editors seem to ignore voices that are not well-known or those who have a story that do not fit their narrative or preconception. All we had to do is Google simple phrases like "US Economic Risks" to find a wealth of information that would raise so many critical questions. If equal media exposure was given to the voices that warned us about the housing bubble, the damage could have been mitigated.

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Research Note: Accuracy, Completeness, and Corrections

In every research project there could be a margin for error. We had to ask ourselves how accurate is our research?

Although no one is infallible, we tried our best to be accurate and quote statements from reliable sources along with their dates. Also, to be fair to the economists or experts, we contacted many of them before we published the our conclusions. We wanted to give them a chance to validate or correct our findings. They can still contact us to correct any information at anytime in the future. Some economists are hard to get in touch with (no published emails). Unfortunately most of the economists or experts did not respond to us. It could be because we are not journalists from important news media or they are simply too busy.

For example, we emailed Marc Faber, Nassim Taleb, Nouriel Roubini, Peter Schiff and Med Jones to verify their correct and incorrect predictions. Faber, Roubini and Schiff did not respond. We received only two responses: one was from Med Jones and the other from Nassim Taleb.

Nassim Taleb email response:
Dear correspondent; I am currently disengaged from the rest of the world (until September 2011).I had to stop replying to emails outside of the strictly personal (friends, family, citizens of Amioun, etc.), except for extremely important/urgent matters. Please note that, except for emergencies & appointments, I reply to mails with an equivalent frequency to that of classical letters. (REQUESTS: Also note that 1) I no longer do media interviews (except those scheduled by publishers), 2) can no longer endorse books, 3) do not participate in documentary films, 4) will not give lectures in Asia, Australia, and other places entailing severe jetlag, etc.). I apologize for the inconvenience. Best, Nassim

Med Jones email response:
I'm not an economist and I do not advise anyone to invest based on my outlook of the economy without conducting their own due diligence. At IIM, we do not sell investments, we offer education to help our clients make better investment decisions. If my research findings help you, then good for you. The truth is that when people invest on Wall Street they are essentially making bets and guesstimates about the future.  Analysts and investors study target market events and analyze their complex relationships and behavioral patterns to determine emerging trends and make their bets. There are two problems facing investors and economists when they try to predict markets and future investment performance.The first problem is any prediction formula that is valid for one context is not necessarily valid for another. Formulas must be updated with changing environments.  The second problem with prediction is that even if you get the formula right, your prediction results are dependent on so many uncontrollable variables such as mother nature, geopolitical events, new regulations, and changing relationships that affect the prices of the assets in question. Luckily, to be a successful investor you do not need to be right all the time, you just have to be more right than wrong. That is how Vegas Casinos make so much money and even the best gamblers lose, they only play games that have the odds in their favor, they play in more controlled contexts. Playing the stock market is not much different. Successful investing is as much about risk management as it is about forecasting. Just remember no one has a crystal ball, and even if I was right before, there is no guarantee that I will be right when regulations and markets change. If you want to be a better economist or investor, be a better student of the markets and the companies that you invest in. This is the most I can give you at this time, I'm busy and I cannot help with your school project. You can find useful resources and interviews in my media link at my website medjones.com . I ask you to correct my name to Med Jones. Although I'm also known by Med Yones and Med Jonss, please use Med Jones instead. Best Regards, Med Jones

BTW: It is disappointing to see how many economists and commentators use several of my statements without citing my work. In June 2006, I published a paper on US Economic Risks, which was viewed more than a million times between 2007 & 2008. In that paper, I warned about loss of confidence in the US economy and later in March 2007 in an interview with Reuters, I gave the same warning about the financial markets, I was not talking about the traditional consumer confidence. I was talking about the financial markets, global investors and lenders. If you research the media, you will find the mantra (after the crisis hit) by every economist and policy maker was about the need to protect or regain the confidence in the US economy.

In the same paper, I also wrote about virtuous and vicious economic cycles describing how government policies can impact the US economic health through debt spending and taxes. Later, I found several economists and media articles that used the exact same phrases or adapted the word cycle to "circle" to describe the recession and recovery. While the concept of virtuous and vicious cycles was used before in other contexts such as biology and sociology (poverty), when it comes to "virtuous economic cycle" and "vicious economic cycle" theory describing the economic growth and decline and the economic crisis of 2008, to my knowledge, the International Institute of Management was the first to develop that theory. It is surprising to see how many other economists and commentators used that theory without citing the paper. The paper is is ranked on Google in the top three results since 2006 from about 20 million competing pages. Who do you think would search for the phrase: US Economic Risks ? In my opinion, economists, investors, journalists and researchers. Can professional analysts forecast the economy or advise their investors without researching the US economic risks? If you conduct a research on this topic you will find that all their statements and work were published after the date of our paper.

Research Corrections:

(1) We corrected the name of the expert from Med Yones to Med Jones.

(2)  We'd like to note that we used the word "economists" rather freely for the lack of a better word to describe professionals who forecast economic conditions that impact Wall Street, the City and financial markets around the world.  They can be analysts, investors, investment advisors etc. We are fully aware of the academic definition of the word economist. We also stand corrected. Two out of four experts who predicted the crisis do not consider themselves as economists. Peter Schiff is a fund manager, and Med Jones is an investment strategy expert.

(3) On his claims about the loss of US economic confidence, all of the of statements of top economists that talked about the financial crisis did in fact come after his statement. For example:

  • Documents obtained by government watchdog group Judicial Watch reveal that in an October 13, 2008, meeting with executives from 9 major American banks, Paulson told bankers that they would be forced to accept government bailout money, whether they wanted it or not. One of the documents, a talking points memo, gave bankers the ultimatum: "If a capital infusion is not appealing, you should be aware that your regulator will require it in any circumstance." The logic was that if everybody were forced to accept the money, then doing so would destigmatize the process in an attempt to avoid threatening the already-eroded market confidence in some of the weaker banks. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • On January 22, 2009, few months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner said "We have experienced a great loss of faith in our economy" (America.Gov)
  • On March 2009 President Obama and top White House staffers urged Americans to remain confident about the economy and its ability to rebound. CBS News 2009 Obama Economic Confidence

(4) On his claims about "Vicious Economic Cycle" or "Virtuous Economic Cycle" theories. Our project is focused on the prediction of the financial crisis, such theories are not within the scope of our research project, so we cannot validate these claims.

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Are there more people who predicted the financial crisis?

This is an ongoing research project, our list is not exhaustive. We identified the top experts who credibly predicted the crisis. There maybe several others who could be added to the list. We believe that the more names are included, the better the body of knowledge will be to help us understand the economic prediction process. If the readers think that we missed someone or something, please email us at

research {at} economicpredictions.org

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis - Who Predicted the Housing Bubble - Who Predicted the Subprime Crisis - Who Predicted the Debt Crisis - Who Predicted the Currency Crisis

Other research questions and findings

  1. Why did the world's top economists fail to predict the financial crisis? (Others who missed the crisis, include government leaders, award-winning scientists, market analysts and investors). Was the crisis predictable or was it a Black Swan (unpredictable) event? Are government policy makers competent enough to manage the nation's financial freedom and security? Are economists and their policies helping or hurting our economic growth? Do we need to re-define the education of economic science and the role that economists play in our financial markets, government policies and business regulations? 
  2. Who is to blame for the financial crisis?  Who contributed to the creation of the crisis? Can they be held responsible for their actions or inactions? Was there a conspiracy by some Wall Street executives and government officials? Do investors have legal cause to seek compensation for damages caused by Wall Street firms?
  3. Who predicted the financial crisis and the ensuing economic crisis? Is there a documented evidence supporting their claims? Were those who warned about the crisis lucky or did they have a clear logic behind their predictions? Can we use their knowledge to predict future crises? What are their future predictions? How do their predictions compare with each other? Where do the experts agree and where do they disagree? How accurate are their economic predictions? Can they be relied on for investment decisions?
  4. Who are the top winners and losers of the financial crisis? Top investors, economists, intellectuals, government officials, think tanks, and universities that lost or won because of the crisis.
  5. What are the lessons we can learn to avoid future crises? What the the economic policy lessons? What are the investor's lessons? Do we need more or less financial regulations?

 

Wall Street Economists - Creative Commons Free Content License - Who Predicted The Financial Crisis?

Economic predictions from the world's top experts on the financial crisis

Dean Baker's Predictions - Wrong Economic Predictions and Right Economic Predictions -Dean Baker Bio
Dean Baker's
Predictions


Med Jones Predictions -  Wrong Economic Predictions and Correct Economic Predictions - Med Jones Biography
Med Jones
Predictions


Nouriel Roubini Predictions - Wrong Economic Predictions and Correct Economic Predictions - Nouriel Roubini Bio
Nouriel Roubini's
Predictions

Peter Schiff Predictions - Wrong Economic Predictions and Right Economic Predictions - Peter Schiff Bio
Peter Schiff's
Predictions

Book: Bubbles Booms and Busts - The Rise and Fall of Financial Assets
The Rise & Fall of Financial Assets


Knowledge
@
Wharton
University

Who Predicted the Financial Crisis - Who Predicted the Economic Crisis
Wall Street
Economic
&
Financial
Research


London
School of Economics
Financial Journalism Ethics


City
University
London
Challenges of Financial
Journalism

 


Economic Predictions from Top Wall Street Economists

(C) Economic Predictions
Research Project

Wall Street Economists - Creative Commons Free Content License - Who Predicted The Financial Crisis?