Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What Debate? Economists Agree the Stimulus Lifted the Economy

Justin Wolfers, NYT
JULY 29, 2014

Here’s a simple case study making the point that our political debates about economics have become largely unhinged from those among actual economists. Take the Obama stimulus plan, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. If you took your cues from the political rhetoric in Washington — or even from the occasional virulent debate in the economics blogosphere — you would think the whole question of fiscal stimulus is highly contested.

But it’s not. There’s widespread agreement among economists that the stimulus act has helped boost the economy.

The Initiative on Global Markets at the University of Chicago — hardly a hotbed of liberal or Keynesian thought — regularly surveys a number of the leading American economists about a variety of policy issues. The economists surveyed constitute a good sample of the leading economists in the nation, and the panel was chosen to be geographically diverse, to include older and younger economists, and importantly, to include Democrats, Republicans and independents. The most important qualification is that these are top-notch economists: senior faculty at the leading economics departments in the United States who are also vitally interested in public policy.

(More here.)


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