Conventional wisdom has pretty much established the idea that the housing market crash pushed the U.S. economy into a mild recession at the end of 2007, which then snowballed into what is now one of the deepest recessions in the post-WWII era. However, what if that view turns out to be wrong? In a recent paper, economist/blogger James Hamilton suggests that the energy shock of 2007-08 was actually a (if not, THE) major precipitating factor in sending the economy over the cliff. While his paper is a little long and contains some econometric-speak that might turn off some readers, it contains some convincing evidence that compares our recent experiences with prior energy price shocks and subsequent economic downturns. In addition, as Michael Giberson over at Knowledge Problem suggests, Hamilton's article is more than just interesting from an academic perspective because it might show that some of the policy responses coming out of Washington are off the mark.


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