September 22nd, 2012

GENED 1120 – The Political Economy of Globalization

Faculty: Robert Z. Lawrence (Kennedy School) and Lawrence H. Summers


This course analyzes how a globalizing world of differing countries – rich and poor, democratic and authoritarian – can best promote inclusive growth and human security by meeting the challenges of inequality, climate change, rising populism, war, and global disease. Why is populism becoming pervasive – and is there a revolt against global integration? What is the right balance between national sovereignty and international integration? Is the US equipped to sustain its role as a global leader? How does international trade affect prosperity and inequality? Should we regulate multi-national companies who move their factories to countries with lower labor standards? How should the IMF respond to financial crises in Europe and the developing world? How will the rise of China change the world system? This course uses basic economic logic to illuminate the choices – and trade-offs – faced by governments, international institutions, businesses, and citizens as the global economy evolves. Our course is based on the premise that passion without careful reason is dangerous and that reliance on solid analytics and rigorous empirical evidence will lead to a better world. Policy issues are debated in class by the professors and guest speakers, and students will participate in simulated negotiations on US climate policy and the US-China economic relationship, experiencing the issues firsthand, as well as illustrating the importance of decisions made by individual actors for the evolution of the global system.

Economics 1420 – American Economic Policy

Faculty: Jeffrey B. Liebman (Kennedy School) and Lawrence H. Summers


This course analyzes major issues in American economic policy, including national savings, taxation, health care, Social Security, budget policy, monetary and fiscal policy, and exchange rate management. Current economic issues and policy options are discussed in detail and in the context of current academic thinking.

Econ 1499 – Macroeconomic Policy in the Post-COVID Era

Faculty: Sir Paul Tucker, Former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, and Lawrence H. Summers


With real interest rates negative for nearly a decade and nominal interest rates close to zero, and fiscal deficits and debt-to-GDP ratios at unprecedented levels, we are in a new era for macroeconomic policy making. This seminar course will focus on macroeconomic policy issues posed by secularly low real interest rates (secular stagnation?), COVID-19, and government debt accumulation. The focus will be on the application of rigorous macroeconomic analysis to policymaking.