US Economy

Nobel–winning economist Robert Shiller: 'I'm nervous' about Trump, but...

Trump exciting 'animal spirits' in housing: Robert Shiller
Trump exciting 'animal spirits' in housing: Robert Shiller

Nobel–winning economist Robert Shiller told CNBC on Wednesday "I'm nervous" about Donald Trump, but said there's no doubt the president-elect's personality has ignited widespread excitement about future prosperity.

"Sometimes that nervousness can go along with optimism," the Yale professor said on"Squawk Box." "I didn't vote for Trump. So we've got him. Let's hope for the best. He might do something good."

Shiller, who literally wrote the book on "Animal Spirits," said the nation has "never had a president" like Trump. His whole persona is "live big, live large" and that's aspirational for many Americans, Shiller said.

The term "animal spirits," the title of the 2009 book co-authored by Shiller, is used to describe the intangibles that psychologically drive excitement on Wall Street or in a particular sector, such as housing.

Shiller, co-creator of the S&P Case/Shiller home prices index, said Trump is a "motivational speaker" with a "tremendous self-confidence" that's contagious.

"We're going to see big changes," predicted Shiller.

Economy strong at expense of near zero rates: Robert Shiller
Economy strong at expense of near zero rates: Robert Shiller

The Trump-driven rally in the stock market since Election Day may very well spill over into the housing market, even with the expectation of higher interest rates, Shiller said.

To make his case, he pointed to the trend that mortgage rates bottomed out in 2012, but home prices moved higher anyway, and there's no reason that can't continue.

Shiller said the economy that President Barack Obama is leaving for Trump looks "strong," though largely on the back of historically low rates by the Federal Reserve, which raised the cost of borrowing for only the second time in a decade in December.