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Alvin Hansen Symposium on Public Policy at Harvard University

"In 1967, in his eightieth year, Alvin Hansen received the American Economics Association's France E. Walker medal. James Tobin, in presenting this award described him as follows:

""Alvin H. Hansen, a gentle revolutionary who has lived to see his cause triumphant and his heresies orthodox, an untiring scholar whose example and influence have fruitfully changed the directions of his science, a political economist who has reformed policies and institutions in his own country and elsewhere without any power save the force of his ideas. From his boyhood on the South Dakota prairie, Alvin Hansen has believed that knowledge can improve the condition of man. In the integrity of that faith he has had the courage never to close his mind and to seek and speak the truth wherever it might lead. But Professor Hansen is to be honored with as much affection as respect. Generation after generation, students have left his seminar and his study not only enlightened but also inspired---inspired with some of his enthusiastic conviction that economics is a science for the service of mankind.""

A symposium is held at Harvard University in Alvin Hansen's honor, and the papers and discussions from these symposia are published by the MIT Press."

Reflections Before and Beyond Dodd-Frank

Over the last few years, the financial sector has experienced its worst crisis since the 1930s. The collapse of major firms, the decline in asset values, the interruption of credit flows, the loss of confidence in firms and credit market instruments, the intervention by governments and central banks: all were extraordinary in scale and scope. In this book, leading economists Randall Kroszner and Robert Shiller discuss what the United States should do to prevent another such financial meltdown.

What Response from U.S. Economic Policy?

It is no surprise that many fearful American workers see the call center operator in Bangalore or the factory worker in Guangzhou as a threat to their jobs. The emergence of China and India (along with other, smaller developing countries) as economic powers has doubled the supply of labor to the integrated world economy.

What Role for Human Capital Policies?

The surge of inequality in income and wealth in the United States over the past twenty-five years has reversed the steady progress toward greater equality that had been underway throughout most of the twentieth century. This economic development has defied historical patterns and surprised many economists, producing vigorous debate. Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies? examines the ways in which human capital policies can address this important problem.

The two papers that make up the core of this book address what is perhaps the most fundamental question in the current debate over Social Security: whether to shift, in part or even entirely, from today's pay-as-you-go system to one that is not just funded but also privatized in the sense that individuals would retain control over the investment of their funds and, therefore, personally bear the associated risk. John Shoven argues yes, Henry Aaron no. Theoretical issues such as the likely effects on saving behavior and capital formation figure importantly in this discussion.

The connection between price inflation and real economic activity has been a focus of macroeconomic research—and debate—for much of the past century. Although this connection is crucial to our understanding of what monetary policy can and cannot accomplish, opinions about its basic properties have swung widely over the years.