Waste time on Facebook and Twitter, and become a better investor
By Michael Brush, MarketWatch
Economist Robert Shiller says you can glean insights from social groups
If you find yourself wasting time on Facebook and Twitter, don't feel guilty.
You may be absorbing a lot more about economic trends, and by extension investment insights, than you think. It turns out there's a lot of predictive value in the viral stories on social media.
That's the view of one of the preeminent thinkers about markets and the economy of our time, Yale University professor and Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller.
Here's what he means. As every college student who ever plowed through a Paul Samuelson textbook knows, economists like to believe that everyone logically pursues their "rational self-interest."
Pieces of the puzzle
But thinking about people in this way is too limited, and it means economists are missing a big piece of the puzzle, Shiller says. That's because when deciding about whether to buy a new car or how to invest, people are often swayed by the stories, jokes, urban legends and conspiracy theories they hear all around them.