Summers

Lawrence H. Summers

Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Economic Growth & Innovation
  • Jobs & Workers
  • Public Budgets & Taxes
  • International Development

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About Lawrence

Summers’ research has made important contributions to many areas of economics, including public finance, labor economics, financial economics, macroeconomics, global economics, economic demography, economic history and development economics as well as global health and education. During the past two decades, Summers has served in a series of senior policy positions in Washington, DC, including the 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton, Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama and Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank. In his speeches, regular newspaper columns, and public commentary, Summers continues to move forward the debate on national and global economic policy.

Briefs

Why Now is the Right Time for a U.S. Carbon Tax

Podcast

Publications

"Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy" (with J. Bradford DeLong). Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (2012): 233-297.
Examines fiscal policy in the context of an economy suffering from protracted high unemployment and output short of potential. Argues that although the conventional wisdom articulated by John Taylor (2000) rejecting discretionary fiscal policy is appropriate in normal times, such policy has a major role to play in a severe downturn in the aftermath of a financial crisis that carries interest rates down to the zero nominal lower bound.
North America's Lost Decade?: The Munk Debate on the Economy (with Paul Krugman, David Rosenberg, and Ian Bremmer) (House of Anansi, 2012).
Debates the future of the North American economy. Discusses whether individual entrepreneurship, corporate innovation, and governments can create a new era of sustained economic growth. Examines whether the ongoing financial crisis, political dysfunction in the United States, and the rise of emerging nations erode living standards in North America for the long term.
"Lower Equilibrium Real Rates, Financial Crisis, and Secular Stagnation," in Across the Great Divide: New Perspectives on the Financial Crisis, edited by Martin Neil Baily and John B. Taylor (Hoover Institution Press, 2014).
Discusses the secular stagnation hypothesis, arguing that the structure of the current economy is not capable of achieving satisfactory growth and stable financial simultaneously.
"Fiscal Policy and Full Employment," (with Laurence Ball and Brad DeLong), Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2014.
Outlines and discusses the policy implications of three economic concepts: Keynes’s view that the liquidity trap, or zero bound on short-term nominal interest rates, can sharply limit the efficacy of monetary stabilization policy; President Kennedy’s “Economics 101” view of the desirability of fiscal stimulus during a slump; and the possibility that a prolonged episode of weak demand and high unemployment in an economy may have destructive consequences for aggregate supply.
"Asiaphoria Meets Regression to the Mean," National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 20573, October 2014.
Discusses consensus forecasts for the global economy that predict, over the medium and long term, the world's economic gravity will substantially shift towards Asia and especially towards the Asian Giants, China and India. This analysis suggests that forecasters and planners looking at China would do well to contemplate a much wider range of outcomes than are typically considered.
"U.S. Economic Prospects: Secular Stagnation, Hysteresis, and the Zero Lower Bound" Business Economics 49 (2014): 65-73.
Discusses how the nature of macroeconomics has changed dramatically in the last seven years. Argues that now, instead of being concerned with minor adjustments to stabilize about a given trend, concern is focused on avoiding secular stagnation. Analyzes macroeconomic problems and proposes solutions to put the U.S. economy back on a path toward healthy growth.

In the News

Lawrence H. Summers quoted in Eduardo Porter, "When All Else Fails, Tax Incentives Probably Will, Too" The New York Times, May 8, 2018.
"The Economy Seems Great, but Secular Stagnation Still Lurks," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, May 7, 2018.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted on global optimism in Kerry Boyd Anderson, "Peer through the Gloom and There are Reasons for Global Optimism" Arab News, April 30, 2018.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted on bank stress tests in Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, "Larry Summers Just Obliterated the Fed's Bank Stress Tests with a Single Sentence" Business Insider, April 23, 2018.
"How to Actually Help Puerto Rico," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, April 17, 2018.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted on taxing unhealthy products in Laura Joszt, "Reports Highlight Impact of Taxing Unhealthy Products to Combat Chronic Diseases Worldwide" The American Journal of Managed Care, April 11, 2018.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted on US-China trade disputes, "China, US to Work on Commercial Disputes: Industry Representatives" Global Times, March 24, 2018.
"Four Reasons Chinese Officials aren't Buying Trump's Trade Threats," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, April 9, 2018.
"Trump Doesn't Deserve Credit for All the Economic Good news," Lawrence H. Summers, Taunton Daily Gazette, January 22, 2018.
"In Davos Dollar Comments, Mnuchin Fails on Style and Substance," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, January 25, 2018.
"The Dollar is Getting Weaker. That Should Worry Us," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, March 5, 2018.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted in Kemal Dervi, "Have We Dodged the Secular-Stagnation Bullet?" The New Times, March 7, 2018.
Lawrence H. Summers's research on Kemal DervişLawrence H. Summers, "Have We Dodged the Secular Stagnation Bullet?," The Brookings Institution, March 6, 2018.
"Jerome Powell's challenge at the Fed," Lawrence H. Summers, Washington Post, February 14, 2018.
"Wells Fargo's Board Members are Getting off Too Easy," Lawrence H. Summers, Washington Post, February 6, 2018.
"No, ‘Obamasclerosis’ Wasn’t a Real Problem for the Economy," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, February 28, 2018.
"Former New York Fed President Bill McDonough, in Memoriam," Lawrence H. Summers, Washington Post, January 29, 2018.
"Trump Doesn't Deserve Credit for All the Economic Good News," Lawrence H. Summers, Washington Post, January 21, 2018.
"If We Want to Improve Global Health, We Need to Tax the Things That are Killing Us," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, January 18, 2018.
Lawrence H. Summers's research on Ben CasselmanLawrence H. Summers, "As Labor Pool Shrinks, Prison Time is Less of a Hiring Hurdle," New York Times, January 13, 2018.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted in Ben Casselman, "In a Tight Labor Market, Even Inmates are Landing Jobs" New York Times, January 13, 2018.
"One Last Time on Who Benefits from Corporate Tax Cuts," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, October 22, 2017.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted in Ben Casselman, "Why Some Scars from the Recession May Never Vanish" New York Times, October 5, 2017.
"The Cassidy-Graham Vote is a Chance for a Republic to be a Hero," Lawrence H. Summers, Wonkblog, The Washington Post, September 22, 2017.
"It’s Time to Balance the Power between Workers and Employers," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, September 3, 2017.
"Summers to CEOs: If You Won't Quit Trump's Advisory Councils Now, then When?," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, August 15, 2017.
"Donald Trump’s Alarming G20 Performance," Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, July 9, 2017.
"This is the One Climate Solution That’s Best for the Environment — and for Business," Lawrence H. Summers (with George P. Shultz), The Washington Post, June 19, 2017.
"The Stock Market Has Boomed under Trump. What Happens Next Might Scare You.," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, January 29, 2017.
"Congress is Considering an Extremely Dangerous Idea Almost Nobody Has Heard Of," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, January 18, 2017.
"It’s Time for a Reset," Lawrence H. Summers, New York Times, December 5, 2016.
"Trump's Tax Plans Favour the Rich and Will Hamper Economic Growth," Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, December 4, 2016.
"‘Political Correctness’ Has Become a Codeword for Hate," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, November 17, 2016.
"The Decline of the Middle Class is Causing Even More Economic Damage than We Realized," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, September 29, 2016.
"What We Need to Do to Get out of This Economic Malaise," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, August 18, 2016.
"What’s Crucial to Know the Morning after Brexit," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, June 24, 2016.
"The Fed is Making the Same Mistakes over and over Again," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, June 14, 2016.
"Why Americans Don’t Trust Government," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, May 26, 2016.
"What You Need to Know about the Next Recession (Starring Donald Trump)," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, May 24, 2016.
"The Fusion of Civilizations," Lawrence H. Summers (with Kishore Mahbubani), Foreign Affairs, May 2016.
"Global Trade Should be Remade from the Bottom Up," Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, April 10, 2016.
"Data Collection is the Ultimate Public Good," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, April 4, 2016.
"Colleges Have Become Hypersensitive to Racial Prejudice. Why Not Anti-Semitism?," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, March 31, 2016.
"Corporate Profits are Near Record Highs. Here’s Why That’s a Problem.," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, March 30, 2016.
"Donald Trump is a Threat to American Democracy," Lawrence H. Summers, Chicago Tribune, March 1, 2016.
"In Defense of Killing the $100 Bill," Lawrence H. Summers (with Peter Sands), The Washington Post, February 25, 2016.
"It’s Time to Kill the $100 Bill," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, February 16, 2016.
"No Free Lunches but Plenty of Cheap Ones," Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, February 7, 2016.
Guest to discuss political correctness and our universities on Conversations with Bill Kristol, Lawrence H. Summers, January 17, 2016.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted on preventing global epidemics in Dionne Searcey, Nick Cumming-Bruce, and Clair MacDougall, "Deadliest Ebola Outbreak on Record is Over, W.H.O. Says" New York Times, January 14, 2016.
"The Fed’s Mistakes are a Cause for Pessimism," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, December 22, 2015.
"Central Bankers Do Not Have as Many Tools as They Think," Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, December 6, 2015.
"This $13 Trillion Question is More Important than Ever," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, November 10, 2015.
"Uniting behind the Divisive ‘Cadillac’ Tax on Health Plans," Lawrence H. Summers (with N. Gregory Mankiw), New York Times, October 24, 2015.
"Fixing America’s Roads Would Essentially Pay for Itself," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, October 13, 2015.
"Investing in Global Health is Critical," Lawrence H. Summers, Business West, October 6, 2015.
"The Importance of Global Health Investment," Lawrence H. Summers, Boston Globe, September 24, 2015.
"Stronger Unions Must be Part of the National Agenda," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, September 11, 2015.
"Why the Fed Must Stand Still on Rates," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, September 9, 2015.
"The World's New Health Goal Will Need Game-Changing Health Technologies," Lawrence H. Summers (with Gavin Yamey), Huffington Post, September 3, 2015.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted on the potential to harvest more and better economic data more quickly to better shape policy decisions. in Michael J. de la Merced, "Lawrence Summers to Join Board of ‘Hyperdata’ Start-Up" New York Times, July 15, 2015.
"Rescuing the Free-Trade Deals," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, June 14, 2015.
"Reform-Minded Ukraine Merits Debt Reduction," Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, May 17, 2015.
Guest to discuss avoiding a stagnant economy on CNN Money, Lawrence H. Summers, April 19, 2015.
Guest to discuss American leadership in the new economic era on Boom Bust, Lawrence H. Summers, April 7, 2015.
"Time U.S. Leadership Woke Up to New Economic Era," Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, April 5, 2015.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted on the limits of education as an inequality-fighter in Neil Irwin, "Why More Education Won’t Fix Economic Inequality" New York Times, March 31, 2015.
"A Deal Worth Getting Right," Lawrence H. Summers, The Washington Post, March 8, 2015.
Lawrence H. Summers quoted on free market capitalsim in Thomas B. Edsall, "Establishment Populism Rising" New York Times, March 4, 2015.
Lawrence H. Summers's research on international wage stagnation discussed in David LeonhardtLawrence H. Summers, "Trying to Solve the Great Wage Slowdown," New York Times, January 15, 2015.
"What You (Really) Need to Know," Lawrence H. Summers, New York Times, January 20, 2014.
"The Economy Hasn't Grown Rapidly ‘in a Financially Sustainable Way’ for a Long Time," Lawrence H. Summers, Interview with Danny Vinik, New Republic, July 23, 2014.
Lawrence H. Summers's research on Europe’s economy discussed in Liz Alderman and Alison SmaleLawrence H. Summers, "Divisions Grow as a Downturn Rocks Europe," New York Times, August 29, 2014.
Guest to discuss the global market on NPR's Here & Now, Lawrence H. Summers, October 16, 2014.
Guest to discuss the U.S. economy on CNBC Squawk Box, Lawrence H. Summers, January 9, 2015.
Lawrence H. Summers's research on China’s economic growth discussed in "Even Dragons Tire," The Economist, October 25, 2014.
Regular contributionsLawrence H. Summers to Financial Times.