Seminar Economics (Master, MWP28-33)

Master in Economics/Business Administration, Summer Term 2023

Boom and Bust Cycles in Financial Markets:
from the Invention of Bubble to the Cryptocurrency Bubble

  1. The Invention of the Bubble: South Sea Bubble, Mississippi Bubble & Dutch Windhandel – a Global Perspective (UK, France, Netherlands, 1719-1720)
    Quinn, W., & Turner, J. (2020). Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Chapters 1-2.
  2. The Dot-Com Bubble (USA, 1995-2001)
    Quinn, W., & Turner, J. (2020). Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Chapters 1, 9.
  3. The Subprime Bubble (USA, UK, Ireland, Spain, 2003-2010)
    Quinn, W., & Turner, J. (2020). Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Chapters 1, 10.
  4. The Cryptocurrency Bubble (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.)
    Quinn, W., & Turner, J. (2020). Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Chapter 1.
    Geuder, J., Kinateder, H., Wagner, N.F. (2019). Cryptocurrencies as Financial Bubbles: The Case of Bitcoin. Finance Research Letters Vol. 31.

In the history of financial markets, major episodes described as bubbles have been known to occur from time to time. What is a financial bubble? What are the economic consequences of a bubble? When and why do financial bubbles burst? Have financial crises become more severe over time? What can early and more recent bubbles tell us about the state of different financial markets? Exploring these topics and some of the most known financial bubbles over time informs our understanding of current global financial markets. Considering the recent financial events and increased interest in the topic of assets and cryptocurrencies, the primary aim of this seminar is to introduce students to the concept of financial bubbles, in particular to their historical context, causes and economic consequences. Students can choose between writing a literature review paper and working with real data descriptively or empirically on one of the seminar topics of their choice. Thereby the participants could develop critical thinking and analytical skills.

The seminar will be taught in English. At the beginning of the seminar, there will be a lecture introducing students to the seminar topics. Furthermore, basic techniques on how to conduct good academic research and empirical analysis with the help of the software R will be explained. The data necessary for the descriptive and/or empirical analysis will be provided by the supervisors, if applicable. The data evaluation will be carried out in cooperation with the supervisors. Finally, the literature review research or empirical results will be summarized in a 15-page term paper and presented on the seminar day.  

Organisational Information

  • Supervisors:

Elissa Iorgulescu (,
Fiona Höllmann ( and  
Alexander Pütz (

With each seminar participant, individual appointments can be made for a first discussion and further supervision of the term paper.

  • The starting point for the seminar is the book “Boom and Bust – A Global History of Financial Bubbles“ by William Quinn and John D. Turner.
  • There are 15 seminar slots, which will be assigned according to a first-come-first-served principle. Interested students can register as of now by sending an email to Mrs Iorgulescu ( indicating two preferred topics. The first to write will be assigned the topic.
  • The kick-off meeting will take place on Friday, April 14, 2023 (14:00-17:00), in STA 1 (Am Stadtgraben 9, ground floor). 
  • Each student has to write a term paper on their assigned topic of a maximum of 15 pages, excluding the title page, bibliography and appendix (font: Arial/Times New Roman, line spacing: 1.5, revision margin left/right: 2.5cm). Format template:  
  • The deadline for submitting the term paper is Monday, June 26, 2023 (by 12:00 p.m.) at the Chair’s secretariat or research assistants (Room 102, 103 and 115, Am Stadtgraben 9, first floor). You should submit a digital PDF version of your paper alongside your code and data (if applicable) to your supervisor.
  • Although a topic can be assigned to more than one student, each participant has to write their own term paper and do their own presentation.
  • The seminar will take place as a block session on Friday, June 30, 2023 (10:00-18:00) in STA 2 (Am Stadtgraben 9, ground floor). During this session, the students will present and discuss their results. Please note that attendance is compulsory.
  • Grading will be based on the written term paper (70%) and the presentation (30%). Please note that the latter also refers to an active engagement during the block session.
  • You can register for the seminar at the examination office only during the early registration period of the summer term 2023.
  • For completing this seminar, students can achieve 6 Credits (Master, PO 2012 and 2015).
  • If the current COVID-19 pandemic will not allow meeting in person, we reserve the right to adapt the seminar accordingly.


Please note that comprehensive literature research is a consistent part of your grading. In addition to the basic literature, particular attention should be paid to recent articles in relevant English journals.