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Business Booms, Busts, & Bubbles: A Resource Guide on Economic Manias & Crashes

Dot-com & Real Estate Bubbles

The two subjects in this section are newer and scholarship on them is still evolving. They have been grouped together not because they are related, but because they occupy a relatively close time period and can in some cases be written about together.

Dot-com Bubble

The 1990s saw the rise of the commercialization of the internet and there was an abundance of venture capital funding for start-ups. Everyone was talking about Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) commerce. This resulted in a rapid rise in U.S. technology stocks during the late 1990s bull market. In 1999, many of the initial public offerings (IPOs) were for technology stocks and the technology-dominated Nasdaq index rose quickly between the years 1995 and 2000. However, many of the start-ups were overvalued often with little to show with regards to a product and eventually capital began to dry up. Stocks tumbled precipitously from a peak on March 10, 2000 and again on October 4, 2002. It was during this time that on December 5, 1996, that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned the markets about their "irrational exuberance." By the end of 2001, most dot-com stocks like, Webvan, etoys, and Kozmo went bust, although some companies survived.

Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Logan Circle, NW, Washington, D.C.. 2010. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Housing Bubble

Beginning in the early 2000s, prices for housing began to rise until they peaked in 2006. They began to decline in 2006/2007 and in December 2008, they sharply declined and continued to drop, until prices hit their lowest point in 2012. This large decline in U.S. home prices led to mortgage delinquencies, foreclosures, and the devaluation of housing-related securities. The real estate bubble had implications beyond just real estate as it contributed to the recession and a global financial crisis.

Print Resources

This is just a selection of resources for those interested in studying the real estate and dot-com bubbles. There are resources in the General Resources section of this guide that also cover the real estate and dot-com bubbles of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Anyone researching these topics would find many articles in newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, local newspapers, and trade magazines that would be very helpful, particularly looking at specific cities and issues.

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.

Internet Resources