June 26, 2017 | By Wisconsin School of Business | Back to press releases

Crowdsourced textbooks on real estate development and subprime crisis offer analysis of latest research

It’s not every day that undergraduate business students get the chance to highlight published research on their resumes. But a real estate class at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is giving undergraduate business students just that—a unique learning opportunity to present findings on recent research topics in class and craft their presentations into articles that become part of a textbook to be used in classrooms across the country.

As part of assistant professor Jaime Luque’s Regional and Urban Economics course, 84 students had the hands-on experience of reviewing cutting-edge research articles in top real estate economics and finance journals and writing about this work to give fellow students a comprehensive and concise overview of what is happening in the field. Their work appears in two newly published textbooks, The Subprime Crisis: Lessons for Business Students (World Scientific) and Rays of Research on Real Estate Development (Business Expert Press).

“The purpose of this project was to give students a chance to review the latest research in the field, develop their own arguments about its value and impact, and then turn those discussions into chapters of textbooks that put the research in context for a larger audience,” says Luque, assistant professor of real estate and urban land economics at the Wisconsin School of Business. “It’s an active learning exercise that builds analytical and writing skills, while giving students a unique window into the world of research and publishing.”

Luque adds, “Students were really engaged in this project and appreciated the value of being able to put something like this on their resumes. It makes for a great conversation piece in a job interview and really helps to set them apart.”

Students in the class broke up into small groups and after making presentations on various research topics, Luque met with each group to talk about the next step, incorporating their work into one of the textbooks. He worked with students to proofread their initial chapter drafts and to offer suggestions for improvement, as needed. The chapters cover a range of topics, including:

  • mortgage credit expansion;
  • lending standards;
  • judicial requirements for foreclosures;
  • costs and benefits of land use regulation;
  • contamination risk;
  • housing affordability; and
  • movements in office-commercial construction.

The textbooks are aimed at an audience of undergraduate students in business and economics, as well as both undergraduate and graduate students in programs such as real estate, urban and regional planning, and finance.