The United States's post-World War II emphasis on activist fiscal policy for short-term economic stabilization was called into question in the 1960s, and by the late 1980s was superseded by the view that fiscal policy should focus on long-run structural concerns. For the past two decades both public policy and economic research emphasized monetary policy as a stabilization tool. But there remain issues in American macroeconomic policy having to do with budget deficits, present and projected, as well as a recent revival of interest in fiscal policy as a stabilization tool. Overall, the academic pendulum is swinging back towards a renewed consideration of fiscal policy.
This volume brings together leading researchers and policy makers to assess the effectiveness and consequences of fiscal policy. Drawing on postwar policy experience and recent economic research, this book offers a state-of-the-art consideration of where fiscal policy stands today. Contributors address both the appropriateness of fiscal policy as a tool for short-run macroeconomic stabilization and the longer-term impact of fiscal decisions and economic policy. Topics covered include the legacy of the Reagan administration's tax cuts; whether public policy has encouraged such behavior as "overconsumption," which may foster persistent budget and trade deficits; and, in light of recent experience, how and when fiscal policy might be appropriate as a short-term stabilization tool.
Alan J. Auerbach, Susanto Basu, Olivier J. Blanchard, Alan S. Blinder, Barry P. Bosworth, W. Elliott Brownlee, William H. Buiter, Jonathan Coppel, Jean-Philippe Cotis, Luiz de Mello, James S. Duesenberry, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Eric Engen, Jeffrey A. Frankel, Benjamin M. Friedman, Richard W. Kopcke, Catherine L. Mann, Van Doorn Ooms, Rudolph G. Penner, Alice M. Rivlin, Christopher A. Sims, C. Eugene Steuerle, Geoffrey M.B. Tootell, Robert K. Triest, Edwin M. Truman
About the Editor
Richard W. Kopcke is Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
"After a decade of nearly undivided attention to monetary policy issues, macroeconomists are increasingly turning their minds to problems related to fiscal policy. The present volume provides an excellent example of this renewed interest. Students, researchers, and policymakers alike will find much to learn from it."
—Jordi Galí, Director and Senior Researcher, CREI, Barcelona
"As the United States confronts a future that must grapple with the need to provide adequate health care, rebuild infrastructure, and fund retirement, including covering failed private pensions, this book provides a timely reminder of past successes and past failures at dealing with these issues. There is much to be learned from U.S. fiscal policy over the past sixty years if at least the more obvious mistakes are to be avoided."
—Francesco Giavazzi, Bocconi University and MIT