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Richard N. Cooper

Richard N. Cooper is Maurits C. Boas Professor of International Economics at Harvard University.

Titles by This Author

Drawing on preliminary results from a massive study conducted by the World Bank to probe the links between stabilization and growth, Cooper examines the experience of developing countries faced by the oil shocks of the 1970s and the debt crisis of the 1980s. He points out that a global slowdown in growth has shifted the main economic concern in developing countries from long-term growth to stabilization and adjustment. Cooper takes into account the cross-country variables that influence the degree to which a country is affected negatively or positively by external shocks and covers such topics as political organization and external debt resolution.

The first chapter focuses on countries that experienced adverse shocks from the sharp increase in oil prices beginning in 1974. It also addresses countries that should have benefited from the oil price increase, and from a comparable increase in coffee prices, for which events turned out to be less favorable than they seemed. The second chapter analyzes the "disabsorption" a country faces when it can no longer rely on foreign lending or advantageous terms of trade; it also looks at inflationary pressures and at the role of the International Monetary Fund in designing stabilization programs for its member countries. The third chapter discusses the main influences on a country's economic performance and also discusses the lessons offered for successful stabilization and long-term growth.

Moving from individual developing nations to the world economic system, the final two chapters examine the question of external debt and why it has proved to be such an international stumbling block, offering suggestions on how it might be resolved.

These eleven essays written over the past fifteen years continue and develop Richard Cooper's central theme of interdependence, reflecting his experience in government in the Council of Economic Advisers and as Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs. They focus in particular on the opportunities and constraints for national economic policy in an environment where goods, services, capital, and even labor are increasingly mobile.

The first four chapters are informal, discursive treatments of economic and foreign policies in the face of growing interdependence among nations.

The remaining chapters cover such specialist topics as optimal regional integration, the integration of world capital markets, the impact of greater interdependence on the effectiveness of domestic economic policy, the comparison of monetary and fiscal policy under fixed and flexible exchange rates, currency evaluation in developing countries, and the appropriate size and composition of a developing country's external debt. A concluding chapter surveys the preceding essays in terms of coordinating macroeconomic policymaking in an interdependent world economy.

Richard N. Cooper is Maurits C. Boas Professor of International Economy at Harvard University.

Titles by This Editor

Insights from Social Science

Predicting the future is notoriously difficult. But systematic analysis leads to clearer understanding and wiser decisions. Thinking about the future also makes social scientists focus their research into the past and present more fruitfully, with more attention to key predictors of change.

This book considers how we might think intelligently about the future. Taking different methodological approaches, well-known specialists forecast likely future developments and trends in human life. The questions they address include: How many humans will there be? Will there be enough energy? How will climate change affect our lives? What patterns of work will exist? How will government work at the local, national, and world level? Will inflation remain under control? Why have past forecasts been so bad? The book concludes with a discussion of the intellectual and historical context of futurology and a look at the accuracy of predictions that were made for the year 2000.