dot con
photo of a spreadsheet
homeipo gamecrying foulbeyondhistorydiscussion
historical perspectives
What's in a bubble? Perspectives on "irrational exuberance," from tulipmania to dotcom mania.

famous bubbles

Whether triggered by inexplicable phenomena, such as the spontaneous tulip craze in the Netherlands in the 1630s, or kindled by the manipulative actions of individuals or corporations, as in the case of the 1720 South Sea Bubble, speculative bubbles can have ruinous effects. Here are five examples of historic bubbles: the Dutch Tulipmania (1634-1638); the Mississippi Bubble (1719-1720); the South Sea Bubble (1720); the Bull Market of the Roaring Twenties (1924-1929); and Japan's "Bubble Economy" of the 1980s.

IPO Bubble Bath of the 1990s

This comprehensive databank from offers statistics on the performance of venture capitalists and underwriters, as well as the benchmark average performances of IPOs between 1990 and 2000. "The 1990s turned average buy-and-hold investors into avid IPO watchers, seduced by the triple-digit gains many new issues posted on their first day of trading. Unfortunately, one-fifth of shares that began public trading in the 1990s have declined more than 90% from their offering price, what big institutional investors and Wall Street insiders paid before the company went public."

home · introduction · ipo game · crying foul · beyond the bubble · historical perspectives
discussion · interviews · readings & links · producer's chat
tapes & transcripts · press reaction · credits · privacy policy
FRONTLINE · wgbh · pbs online

some photographs copyright ©1998 sam bailey
web site copyright 1995-2013 WGBH educational foundation