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Hardcover | ISBN: 9780262062305 | 1131 pp. | 7 x 9 in | April 2002
Paperback | $55.00 Short | £37.95 | ISBN: 9780262561518 | 1131 pp. | 7 x 9 in | April 2002

Instructor Resources

American Economic Policy in the 1990s


The 1990s saw the best economic performance in the United States in three decades. Strong economic growth and falling unemployment were accompanied by low inflation and rising budget surpluses. Although personal bankruptcies climbed, the personal saving rate fell, and the trade deficit expanded, overall, U.S. economic performance during the 1990s was outstanding.

This book is a unique attempt to write the first history of the making of American economic policy during the 1990s. One way to view it is as a "debriefing" of those who made the decisions. Each chapter is devoted to a particular area of economic policy and consists of a background paper written by leading academic economists together with short essays by prominent policymakers, many of whom served in the Clinton administration or previous administrations, and by independent observers. The questions asked about each policy area include: What were the pros and cons of alternative options under consideration? What decision was made? What were the relevant economic arguments for that decision, and what political interests were served? Were other options missing from consideration? Is it possible to judge whether the decision was the right one? Are there lessons for the future?

About the Editors

Jeffrey A. Frankel is James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Economic Growth at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Peter R. Orszag is a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution.


"American Economic Policy in the 1990s begins the important historical debate about the policies and personalities that produced a balanced federal budget and the strongest economic growth in American history. For those of us who were part of the Clinton Administration, the views presented here are vital guideposts not just to the past but to the future as well."--Leon E. Panetta, Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Chief of Staff in the Clinton Administration

"This book is essential reading for anyone attempting to understand economic policy during the intense ‘roaring 90s.’ It contains important lessons for the 21st century that build on the remarkable economic and productivity growth of the past decade. Having worked with both Jeffrey Frankel and Peter Orszag during the Clinton Administration, I am not surprised that they have produced a world-class book."--Stuart E. Eizenstat, Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury


CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book for 2002