Course Description

Financial institutions are a pillar of civilized society, supporting people in their productive ventures and managing the economic risks they take on. The workings of these institutions are important to comprehend if we are to predict their actions today and their evolution in the coming information age. The course strives to offer understanding of the theory of finance and its relation to the history, strengths and imperfections of such institutions as banking, insurance, securities, futures, and other derivatives markets, and the future of these institutions over the next century. Financial Markets starts October 20, 2014!

This course is also available in Chinese. Click here to visit the translated version of Financial Markets.


Week 1 Topics - Basic Principles of Finance and Risk Management 
Introduction to Week 1 from Professor Shiller 
Portfolio Diversification and Supporting Financial Institutions (Part 1 and 2) 
Insurance, the Archetypal Risk Management Institutions: Its Opportunities and Vulnerabilities 
Guest speaker: Maurice "Hank" Greenberg 

Week 2 Topics - Efficient Markets vs. Behavioral Finance
Introduction to Week 2 from Professor Shiller 
Efficient Markets 
Behavioral Finance and the Role of the Psychology 
Guest speaker: David Swensen 

Week 3 Topics - Debt versus Equity
Introduction to Week 3 from Professor Shiller 
Theory of Debt, Its Proper Role, Leverage Cycles 
Corporate Stocks 
Guest Speaker: Laura Cha 

Week 4 Topics - Real Estate, Regulation, and Enterprise
Introduction to Week 4 from Professor Shiller 
Real Estate 
Misbehavior, Crises, Regulation and Self Regulation 
Guest Speaker: Carl Icahn 

Week 5 Topics - Forward Futures and Options Markets
Introduction to Week 5 from Professor Shiller 
Forward and Futures Markets 
Options Markets 
Guest Speaker: Andrew Redleaf 

Week 6 Topics - Monetary Policy 
Introduction to Week 6 from Professor Shiller 
Banks 
Monetary Policy 
Guest Speaker: Larry Summers 

Week 7 Topics - Critical Elements of the Financial Infrastructure
Introduction to Week 7 from Professor Shiller 
Investment Banks 
Professional Money Managers and Their Influence 
Exchanges, Brokers, Dealers, Clearinghouses 
Schwarzman Lecture 

Week 8 Topics - Finance and the Broader Public Purpose 
Introduction to Week 8 from Professor Shiller 
Public and Non-Profit Finance 
Finding your Purpose in the World of Financial Capitalism 
Professor Shiller Conclusion 


No prerequisites for this course.

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Reviews on Springboard

  1. Financial Markets

    This course on Coursera was most instructive. I was also struck by the warmth of Professor Schiller and picked up that working in Finance is not necessarily only for the the self-interested, and that there may be a higher purpose in this field.

  2. Great course

    Very good content. Really enjoyed taking this class.. The quizzes are rather easy, and some topics you really feel you wanted to watch more than the lenght avaliable.. Definetelly worth the time

  3. Excellent Course

    One of the best online course i have seen. The teaching was great with lot of insights on history. A lot of references to the reasoning of each financial element. Quizzes were easy. Would recommend doing the weekly quizes along with studying rather than at the end. The assessment was enriching as we had to read a detailed report and evaluation other fellow mates only exposed us to the rich thought processes of fellow mates. Final examination required a little preparation - it was slightly tough. Overall an excellent course to brush up the financial markets. It was slightly US specific but is acceptible given that all the major paradigm have come from that region. Must recommend to all...

  4. Great introduction, rather easy, use Yale Online as well

    I really enjoyed this course, the technical aspects are covered well with a wide breadth and good detail, and explained in examples that are relevant to everyday situations, not just niche information for those in the financial industry (I'm an mechnical engineer with an interest). The videos are very pleasant to listen/watch to, especially with the delivery by Prof Shiller (his down to earth, friendly expositon makes for very enjoyable viewing). However, this course /was/ rather easy, with a lot of the quizzes being a direct "fill in the blank" from verbatrim. The final exam was harder though, and there are some numerical questions which require some careful thought. However, do note that these lecture videos are shortened versions of videos full available for free on the open yale website. Many times, I downloaded and watch the full versions for greater understanding, however this is more a testament to how interesting Shiller makes it to listen to, rather than lack of coverage in the Coursera videos. Open Yale also offers the full 1hr lectures in audio format, which makes for great in car listening (especially on behavioural finance). All in all, I 100% recommend this course. It would be both a great introduction and a great refresher for thosse who have already studied FM elsewhere. Treat it like this and stick with it, and I'll guarantee you'll enjoy it. Expect a Yale level of challenge/satisfaction however, and you would perhaps do better to look elsewhere.

  5. Robert Laing - Financial Markets

    This course was incredibly topical because it was given by Robert Shiller shortly after he won the Nobel economics prize together with Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen. There was some controversy over this as Fama's and Shiller's theories are seen as contradictory, and Professor Shiller did a special lecture explaining their theories are not actually that far apart. The course was not particularly tough (having done Coursera's Financial Engineering parts one and two helped since there was a question on options pricing), and Professor Shiller is an extremely good teacher. I hope recent Nobel prize winners offering MooCs catches on.

  6. Financial Markets

    This is my first course on coursera that I could successfully complete. Unlike other finance-related courses on coursera, this course has less quant. The feature that I liked the most was the interaction with guest speaker every week. That gave first hand account of many things! Basically, this course gives a fundamenal idea of financial markets with several interesting anectodes that date past several centuries! I found the course stress free and fun, which motivated me to finish the course. Hope others too find it the same way! :)

  7. Financial Markets

    It was a pleasure and privilege to learn the Financial Markets course from Prof. Robert Shiller. The course contents were very well defined and provided learnings that gave insights about the history, working and the changing nature of Financial Markets spanning centuries till the very recent crisis of 2008, the course also widened the spectrum of understanding to take up further deep studies in this regard, it was very informative indeed. The learnings will certainly help students like me to apply the principles and understandings derived from this course to the wider and practical world of Finance. I thank Prof.Shiller, Coursera team and Yale University.

Financial Markets

by Robert Shiller, Yale University