The promoters for modern American capitalism have long encouraged individuals, including those of modest means, to build their wealth through investments. But how have ordinary investors learned about the opportunities and risks of putting their savings to work on Wall Street? A team of students working with History professor Ed Balleisen will delve into the evolving nature of investment advice from the early twentieth-century up to the start of the internet age. Creating datasets from financial advice columns in large circulation American newspapers and magazines, they will use text mining techniques and sentiment analysis to see how advice changed in response to the business cycle, the emergence of new types of investments, financial products, and investors, and the evolution of financial regulation. This is a chance to link data science to historical analysis of a key facet of finance capitalism.
Project Lead: Ed Balleisen