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Economists' Letter on Recovery Policy

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Ohio State University
Vanderbilt University
Tufts University
Brown University
Northeastern University

Today, over 130 experts on economic policy released a public letter calling on national lawmakers to provide well-targeted, significant relief to state governments and to individuals experiencing economic hardship. The original seven signatories  Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat, Peter Diamond, Darrick Hamilton, Carolyn J. Heinrich, Michael Klein, Matthew Kraft, and Alicia Sasser Modestino – are available for comment.

Dear National Lawmakers,

As you consider a new package of aid to support the nation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, now is an appropriate time for the federal government to consider economic research carefully in order to provide well-targeted, significant relief to state governments and to individuals experiencing economic hardship. Support for state budgets, and for safety net programs, most notably funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and for Unemployment Insurance, are wise ways to do this.

Unlike the federal government, most states cannot issue debt to support operating expenses. Economic theory and history show that significant state and local government spending cuts can exacerbate recessions and weaken recoveries. Facing dramatically reduced tax revenues, states and localities will be forced to cut budgets for essential programs that support health, education, public safety, and public transportation, and that reduce poverty and hardship — unless federal support is provided.

Cutting state budgets is pro-cyclical, that is to say, it removes spending from the economy at a time when private sector demand is already reduced, making a robust recovery more difficult. Providing funds to states is a wise investment to hasten recovery.

SNAP and Unemployment Insurance provide food and funds to individuals and families in need. This funding, too, can contribute to a more rapid recovery, since low-income individuals are likely to spend new resources immediately, fostering economic activity. And, of course, these programs directly help individuals in need. State Unemployment Insurance funds have been dramatically depleted, while SNAP benefits have never been high enough to fully address food insecurity, and are especially inadequate in the current context.

Evidence indicates that the effects of COVID-19 fall hardest on Black and Latinx communities, and other people of color, as well as people with pre-existing health conditions, and people in poverty. These measures would provide some important relief.

A robust recovery package should address these issues with significant funds.
 

Signatories:

Henry Aaron
Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow
The Brookings Institution

Daron Acemoglu
Institute Professor, Dept. of Economics
MIT

Jacqueline Agesa
Professor
Marshall University

Randy Albelda
Professor of Economics
University of Massachusetts Boston

Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat
Associate Professor of Economics
Barnard College, Columbia University

Michael Ash
Professor of Economics & Public Policy
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Nahid Aslanbeigui
Professor of Economics
Monmouth University

Ron Baiman
Associate Professor of Economics
Benedictine University

Radhika Balakrishnan
Professor
Rutgers University

Nina Banks
Associate Professor of Economics
Bucknell University

Christopher B. Barrett
Stephen B. & Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management
Cornell University

Jacob Bastian
Assistant Professor of Economics
Rutgers University

Swati Bhatt
Lecturer
Princeton University

Alan Blinder
Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
Princeton University

Barry A. Bluestone
Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Northeastern University

Peter Bohmer
Faculty Emeritus in Economics and Political Economy
The Evergreen State College

Leah Boustan
Professor of Economics
Princeton University

Elissa Braunstein
Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics
Colorado State University

Nancy Brooks
Visiting Associate Professor
Cornell University

Clair Brown
Professor
UC Berkeley

Christopher Brown
Professor of Economics
Arkansas State University

John Philip Burkett
Professor of Economics
University of Rhode Island

Gary Burtless
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies
Brookings Institution

Oriol Carbonell-Nicolau
Professor
Rutgers University

Christopher Carpenter
E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Economics
Vanderbilt University

Howard Chernick
Professor of Economics Emeritus
Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of NY

Menzie D. Chinn
Professor of Public Affairs and Economics
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Kimberly E. Christensen
Economics Professor
Sarah Lawrence College

Nathaniel Cline
Associate Professor
University of Redlands

Dorothy Sue Cobble
Distinguished Professor of History and Labor Studies
Rutgers, State University of New Jersey

Richard D. Coe
Professor of Economics
New College of Florida

Sean P. Corcoran
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education
Vanderbilt University

Janet Currie
Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
Princeton University

Sheldon Danziger
Distinguished University Professor of Public Policy Emeritus
University of Michigan

Willard Delavan
Associate Professor of Economics
Lebanon Valley College

J. Bradford DeLong
Professor
U.C. Berkeley

Peter Diamond
Institute Professor Emeritus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

William Theodore Dickens
University Distinguished Professor
Northeastern

Ranjit S. Dighe
Professor
State University of New York at Oswego

Peter Doeringer
Professor of Economics Emeritus
Boston University

Laura Dresser
Associate Director, COWS, Assistant Clinical Professor, Social Work
UW Madison

Matthew Kraft
Associate Professor of Education and Economics
Brown University

Amitava Krishna Dutt
Professor
University of Notre Dame

Steven Fazzari
Bert A. and Jeanette L. Lynch Professor of Economics and Sociology
Washington University in St. Louis

Deborah M. Figart
Distinguished Professor of Economics
Stockton University

Robert Forrant
Distinguished University Professor of History
University of Massachusetts Lowell

Ellen Frank
Senior Lecturer
University of Massachusetts-Boston

Gerald Friedman
Professor of Economics
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

James Galbraith
Lloyd M . Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations
LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin

John Gallup
Associate Professor of Economics
Portland State University

Irwin Garfinkel
Professor
School of Social Work Columbia University

Teresa Ghilarducci
Professor
The New School

Lonnie Golden
Professor Economics and Labor-Human Resources
Penn State University (Abington)

John Golden
Associate Professor of Economics
Allegheny College

Michael Goodman
Professor of Public Policy
UMass Dartmouth

Neva Goodwin
Distinguished Fellow
Economics in Context Initiative, Boston University

Gene Grossman
Jacob Viner Professor of Economics and International Affairs
Princeton University

Darrick Hamilton
Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
Ohio State University

Douglas Harris
Professor and Chair of Economics
Tulane University

Oliver Hart
Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor
Harvard University

Carolyn Heinrich
Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Public Policy, Education and Economics
Vanderbilt University

Harry J. Holzer
LaFarge SJ Professor of Public Policy
Georgetown University

Saul H. Hymans
Professor of Economics & Statistics, Emeritus, Dept of Economics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Kenneth Jameson
Professor Emeritus
University of Utah

Paul Andrew Jargowsky
Professor and Director, Center for Urban Research and Education
Rutgers University - Camden

William G. Johnson
Professor Emeritus, Founder Center for Health Information & Policy
Arizona State University

Harry Katz
Jack Sheinkman Professor
ILR School, Cornell University

Lawrence Katz
Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics
Harvard University

Haider A. Khan
Distinguished University Professor
University of Denver

Mary C. King
Professor of Economics Emerita
Portland State University

Marieka Klawitter
Professor of Public Policy and Governance
University of Washington

Michael Klein
William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs
Fletcher School, Tufts University

James Knickman
Retired. Formerly Robert Derzon Chair of Health and Public Affairs
New York University

Yolanda K. Kodrzycki
VP and Director, New England Public Policy Center (retired)
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Timothy Koechlin
Director, International Studies Program
Vassar College

Edward C. Kokkelenberg 
Professor of Economics
State University of New York at Binghamton

Ebru Kongar
Professor of Economics
Dickinson College

Laurence Kotlikoff
Professor of Economics
Boston University

Kate Krause
Emerita Professor
University of New Mexico

Adriana Kugler
Professor of Public Policy and Economics
Georgetown University

Edith Kuiper
Associate Professor
State University of New York at New Paltz

Kevin Lang
Professor of Economics
Boston University

Ronald Lee
Professor of Demography and Economics, Emeritus
University of California, Berkeley

Paul Leigh
Health Economics Professor Emeritus
UC Davis

Victor D. Lippit
Professor of Economics Emeritus
University of California, Riverside

David B. Lipsky
Anne Evans Estabrook Professor of Dispute Resolution Emeritus
School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University

Mark Long
Professor of Public Policy and Governance
University of Washington

Catherine Lynde
Associate Professor, Retired
University of Massachusetts Boston

Arthur MacEwan
Professor Emeritus of Economics
University of Massachusetts Boston

Bernard Malamud
Emeritus Professor of Economics
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Julie Matthaei
Professor Emeritus of Economics
Wellesley College

Daniel McFadden
Presidential Professor
USC Schaeffer Center for Health Economics and Policy

Brandon McKoy
President
New Jersey Policy Perspective

Alicia Sasser Modestino
Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy
Northeastern University

Alan Monheit
Professor of Health Economics
Rutgers University School of Public Health

Katherine A. Moos
Assistant Professor of Economics
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Julie A. Nelson
Emeritus Professor of Economics
University of Massachusetts Boston

Robert Noland
Distinguished Professor
Rutgers University

Jennifer Olmsted
Professor of Economics and Director of the Social Entrepreneurship Semester
Drew University

Paul Osterman
Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Amanda Page-Hoongrajok
Assistant Professor
Saint Peter's University

Prasannan Parthasarathi
Professor
Boston College

Karl Petrick
Associate Professor of Economics
Western New England University

Karen Pfeifer
Professor Emerita of Economics
Smith College

Lynda Pickbourn
Associate Professor of Economics
Hampshire College

Anne Morrison Piehl
James Cullen Professor of Economics
Rutgers University

Frank Popper
Professor
Rutgers (Emeritus) and Princeton Universities

Andrew Reschovsky
Professor Emeritus of Public Affairs and Applied Economics
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Richard Roberts
Professor of Economics
Monmouth University

Yana Rodgers
Professor
Rutgers University

Barkley Rosser
Professor of Economics and Kirby L. Cramer, Jr. Professor of Business Administration
James Madison University

Katheryn Russ
Associate Professor of Economics
University of California, Davis

Julia Sass Rubin
Associate Professor
Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University

Richard Schmalensee
Professor Emeritus of Economics & Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tobias Schulze-Cleven
Associate Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Robert J. Shiller
Sterling Professor of Economics
Yale University

Tim Smeeding
Lee Rainwater Professor of Public Affairs and Economics
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Robert M. Solow
Institute Professor Emeritus
MIT

Lynn Tang
Professor of Economics and International Business
The College of New Jersey

Robert Tannenwald
Vice President (Retired)
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

David Terkla
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Economics
University of Massachusetts Boston

Robert Triest
Professor and Chair, Department of Economics
Northeastern University

Meredeth Turshen
Professor Emerita
Rutgers University

Paul N. Van de Water
Senior Fellow
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Paula B. Voos
Professor, School of Management & Labor Relations
Rutgers University

Geoffrey L. Wallace
Associate Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
University of Wisconsin - Madison

George Waters
Professor
Illinois State University

Mark Watson
Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
Princeton University

Eugene White
Distinguished Professor of Economics
Rutgers University

Noé M. Wiener
Lecturer in Economics
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Barbara Wolfe
Richard A Easterlin Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Owen Zidar
Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
Princeton University