Recent posts

On Secular Stagnation: A Response to Bernanke

Ben Bernanke has inaugurated his blog with a set of thoughtful observations on the determinants of real interest rates (see his post here) and the secular stagnation hypothesis that I have invoked in an effort to understand recent macroeconomic developments.  I agree with much of what Ben writes and would highlight in particular his recognition that the Fed is in a sense a follower rather than a leader with respect to real interest rates –  since they are determined by broad factors bearing on the supply and demand for capital – and his recognition that equilibrium real rates appear to have been trending downward for quite some time.  His challenges to the secular stagnation hypothesis have helped me clarify my thinking and provide an opportunity to address a number of points where I think there has been some confusion in the public debate. continue

Increasing Education: What it will and will not do for earnings inequality

In a paper published by the Hamilton Project on March 30, 2o15, Brad Hershbein, Melissa S. Kearney, and Lawrence H. Summers analyzed what increasing education will and will not do for earnings and earnings inequality. Mainstream labor economists as well as several public commentators have argued that trends in the economy over recent decades—including technological developments, globalization, and trade, among others—have weakened the relative earnings power of those with lower levels of skills, especially those without a college degree. continue

Thought Economics: Modern Capitalism

In an exclusive interview with Prof. Summers and Prof. Edmund Phelps, Thought Economics looks at the story of modern capitalism, the benefits it has brought, and the challenges it has created. The series explores the ‘post crisis’ economy, the role of government in society, the relationship between capitalism, conflict and inequality and looks at what needs to be done to ‘fix’ our global economy, and the science of economics itself. continue