William Goetzmann

Professor, Yale School of Management
Director, Yale International Center for Finance
Director, Berkeley Research Group

Leading authority on behavioural finance and the history of financial innovation.

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William Goetzmann is one of the world's leading authorities on behavioural finance — how social, cognitive and emotional factors affect markets. He is an established expert on a diverse range of investments, including stocks, hedge funds, mutual funds, real estate, and paintings.

He researches global investing, forecasting stock markets, selecting mutual fund managers, housing as an investment and the risk and return of art as an investment. He has specifically studied the subprime mortgage crisis and home price appreciation.

Dr. Goetzmann is an expert on the history of financial innovation and the basic principles that underlie most of these breakthroughs. His book, Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible, demonstrates how finance has forcefully shaped our world in a positive way. He is the co-editor of The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets. As director of Yale's International Center for Finance, he has helped assemble databases of individual security prices in global markets over the 19th and 20th centuries, including New York Stock Exchange and The London Exchange.

Will is also an authority on the psychology of markets, explaining market behaviour as a product of both market forces and social and psychological factors. He oversees one of the most active behavioural research programs in the world as director of Yale’s International Center for Finance and its Behavioral Finance Research Initiative. Will studies bubbles, momentum, the psychology of overreaction and underreaction, investor confidence, consumer choice and clientele change, and the impact these have on asset pricing, regulation and management.

William Goetzmann is the Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies at the Yale School of Management and Director of its International Center for Finance (ICF). He is the Director of the Berkeley Research Group.

His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Economist, Forbes, and Art and Auction.

Will is also a documentary filmmaker and he has written and co-produced programs for Nova and The American Masters series. A former director of Denver's Museum of Western Art, Professor Goetzmann co-authored the award-winning book The West of the Imagination.


  • Director, Berkeley Research Group
  • Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management Studies, Yale School of Management
  • Director, International Center for Finance, Yale School of Management
  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
  • Board member, The Commonfund
  • Various television and film credits


Money Changes Everything

How Finance Made Civilization Possible

William Goetzmann

Financial Times Best Business Book 2016 for Economics

In the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, people might consider finance a wrecking ball: something that destroys fortunes and jobs, and undermines governments and banks. In Money Changes Everything, leading financial economist William Goetzmann argues the exact opposite — the development of finance has made the growth of civilizations possible. Exploring the critical role of finance over the millennia, from Mesopotamia to today, Goetzmann shows that wondrous financial technologies and institutions — money, bonds, banks, corporations, and more — have helped urban centers to expand and cultures to flourish. In the present, financial tools that allow for shifts of economic value over time enable us to purchase homes and set up retirement plans. Where did the powers of finance come from? And what do we need to be wary of for the future?

Focusing on the great civilizations of Sumer, Greece, Rome, China, and early modern Europe, Goetzmann examines key episodes, including the invention of financial planning by the Babylonians, the invention of money by the Greeks, the Chinese establishment of paper securities, the emergence of the world's first corporations in the Middle Ages, and the American creation of equity mutual funds. Throughout history, financial innovations have responded to rising economic, social, and political needs. Goetzmann also looks at current challenges, such as the maintenance of productive enterprise, and an aging and expanding population. He asserts that financial technologies have the continuing potential to improve society.

Delving into one of the most important and polarizing of all human institutions, Money Changes Everything demonstrates how finance has forcefully shaped our world in positive ways.

Princeton University Press (10 May 2016)


Finance is the Master TechnologyThe New York Times
'Money Changes Everything'Financial Times


"Only William Goetzmann — an archaeologist, art historian, and esteemed finance scholar — could have produced this masterful exploration of money and investing through the ages. Money Changes Everything is at once deep, broad, sweeping, and gorgeously illustrated. It is a book that readers will savor and refer to again and again."
— William Bernstein, author of A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World

"Money is the greatest invention since the wheel. In this masterwork, Money Changes Everything, William Goetzmann traces money's role from prehistoric times to the present, showing how civilizations developed on a bedrock of financial transactions. A beautifully written and compelling book."
— Elroy Dimson, University of Cambridge and London Business School

"In Money Changes Everything, readers learn a tremendous amount about the core ideas of finance. William Goetzmann uses a vast range of historical examples to explain why the evolution of finance and civilization are inseparable."
— Robert J. Shiller, Nobel Laureate in Economics

"If anyone had told me that someone could write coherently and intelligently about Karl Marx, cuneiform tablets, the South Sea bubble, the opium trade, and David's painting Death of Marais between a single set of covers, I would have shaken my head in disbelief. This book accomplishes precisely this. Money Changes Everything does nothing less than to think through the contribution of finance to modern civilization. A thrilling read."
— Hans-Joachim Voth, University of Zurich

"Ranging from early civilizations to the present day and moving from the Fertile Crescent to our current global society, this book contains a wealth of interesting observations about the history of finance. Readers will be attracted by the genial tone and tales of personal discovery."
— Peter Temin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"This is a long-term history of the development and importance of financial technologies and institutions. A useful synthesis that brings together primary materials, the book argues that financial systems provide the means for advancing civilization."
— Graham Oliver, Brown University

The West of the Imagination

William H. Goetzmann and William N. Goetzmann

For many people, "western art" immediately conjures images by Frederic Remington or Georgia O'Keeffe — but there's so much more. From early explorers' first sketches of the Rockies to the modern earth sculptures of Michael Heizer, images of the American West are as multifaceted as its cultures. This remarkable book embraces them all.

A landmark overview of western American art, the original edition of The West of the Imagination brought the region to wide public attention as a companion to a popular PBS series of the same name. The book, significantly expanded and updated, shows that the West is a vibrant mirror of American cultural diversity. Through 450 illustrations — more than half of them in color — the authors trace the visual evolution of the myth of the American West, from unknown frontier to repository of American values, covering popular and high arts alike.

An unrivaled survey, The West of the Imagination is an immensely informative and pleasurable volume for anyone with an interest in the region's creative legacy.

University of Oklahoma Press; 2 edition (30 April 2009)

The Equity Risk Premium

Essays and Explorations

William N. Goetzmann and Roger G. Ibbotson

This book aims to create a strong understanding of the empirical basis for the equity risk premium. Through the research and anaylsis of two scholars who are experts in this field, this volume presents the key issues that are paramount to investors, including whether or not to use historical data as a method of equity investing, and can the equity premium reflect changes in fundamental values and cash flows of the market.

OUP USA (14 Dec 2006)

The Origins of Value

The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets

William N. Goetzmann and Geert K. Rouwenhorst

From the invention of interest in Mesopotamia and the origin of paper money in China, to the creation of mutual funds, inflation-indexed bonds, and global financial securities, here is a sweeping survey of financial innovations that have changed the world. Written by a distinguished group of experts — including Robert Shiller, Niall Ferguson, Valerie Hansen, and many others--and wonderfully illustrated with over one hundred color photographs of landmark financial documents (including the first paper money), The Origins of Value traces the evolution of finance through 4,000 years of history. Readers see how and why many of our most important financial tools and institutions — loans, interest rates, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, the corporation, and the New York Stock Exchange, to name a few — came into being. We see, for instance, how ancient Rome developed an early form of equity finance that resembles the modern corporation and read about the first modern corporation — the Dutch East India Company — and its innovative means of financing the exploration and expansion of European business ventures around the globe. We also meet remarkable financial innovators, such as the 13th century Italian Fibonacci of Pisa, whose mathematics of money became the foundation for later developments in the technology of Western European finance (and may explain why the West surpassed the East in financial sophistication). And we even discover a still-surviving "perpetuity" dating from the Dutch Age of Reason — an instrument that has been paying interest since the mid-17th century. Placing our current age of financial revolution in fascinating historical perspective, The Origins of Value tells a remarkable story of invention, illuminating many key episodes in the course of financial history.

OUP USA (11 Aug 2005)

Modern Portfolio Theory and Investment Analysis

Edwin J. Elton, Martin J. Gruber, Stephen J. Brown, William N. Goetzmann

This book covers the characteristics and analysis of individual securities as well as the theory and practice of optimally combining securities into portfolios. Stressing the economic intuition behind the subject matter, this classic text pres-ents advanced concepts of investment analysis and portfolio management.

It can be used for courses in both portfolio theory and in investment analysis that have an emphasis on portfolio the-ory. It can also be used in a course in investments where both portfolio analysis and security analysis are discussed.

The authors' goal has been to make all the material in this text accessible to students of portfolio analysis and investment management, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels while maintaining the rigor through the use of appendices which can be used in conjunction with the text.

John Wiley & Sons; 6th Edition edition (11 Sep 2002)


Will tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Behavioral Finance

Traditional economics assumes that people make economic decisions rationally. They don’t always do so, of course, and the result is market behavior that doesn’t match traditional expectations, such bubbles and the collapse of bubbles. To fully understand markets, you have to study the psychology of markets.