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America’s locust years

By J. Bradford DeLong BERKELEY: It is hard right now to write about American political economy. Nobody knows whether the debt-ceiling tripwire will be evaded; if so, how; or what will happen if it is not. If no deal to raise the debt ceiling is reached by August 3, interest rates on United States Treasury bonds …


Economics in crisis

By J. Bradford DeLong BERKELEY: The most interesting moment at a recent conference held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire — site of the 1945 conference that created today’s global economic architecture — came when Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf quizzed former United States Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, President Barack Obama’s ex-assistant for economic policy. “[Doesn’t] what …


The anatomy of slow recovery

By J. Bradford DeLong BERKELEY: Between 1950 and 1990 — the days of old-fashioned inflation-fighting downturns engineered by the United States Federal Reserve — America’s post-recession unemployment rate would fall on average 32.4 percent over the course of a year from its initial value toward its natural rate. If the US unemployment rate had started to …


Intelligent economic design

By J. Bradford DeLong BERKELEY: As Stephen Cohen, with whom I wrote The End of Influence: What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money, likes to say, economies do not evolve; they are, rather, intelligently designed. He also likes to say that, though there is an intelligence behind their design, this does not mean that …


A time to spend

By J. Bradford DeLong BERKELEY: The central insight of macroeconomics is a fact that was known to John Stuart Mill in the first third of the nineteenth century: there can be a large gap between supply and demand for pretty much all currently produced goods and services and types of labor if there is an equally …


The retreat of macroeconomic policy

By J. Bradford DeLong BERKELEY: One disturbing thing about studying economic history is how things that happen in the present change the past — or at least our understanding of the past. For decades, I have confidently taught my students about the rise of governments that take on responsibility for the state of the economy. But …


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