Ebony Jones manages asset allocation for Colorado's Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA). She is worried that some asset price measures are approaching levels observed prior to the Great Recession, and she is pondering whether she should shift PERA's asset allocation toward cash and fixed-income investments as a precaution. To put the current market situation in perspective, she looks back at the causes and consequences of the Great Recession. Were there clear warning signs of asset bubbles and impending recession prior to 2008? To what extent does today's economy resemble the pre-2008 economy, and what are the implications for Colorado's retirees and the broader economy if stocks and real estate are due for a correction?
The case was written for use in Darden's Global Economies and Markets (GEM) core course during a class on the causes of the Great Recession. Each class in the course focuses on a different subset of exogenous variables in the IS/LM AD/AS model that underpins the course. This class focuses on shocks to wealth, consumer confidence, and credit supply, each of which was increasing during the run-up to the crisis and subsequently plummeted.