American Economic Policy, as told by Martin Feldstein at Harvard University: Lecture 2, Where are we? How did we get here? What next?

Martin Feldstein American Economic Policy Harvard January 27 Lecture 2 Graphing Housing Prices

What caused the Great Recession, and could it happen again? These are the questions that motivate Martin Feldstein in the second lecture of his course “American Economic Policy” given to undergraduates at Harvard.

The good professor suggests that the housing sector is where we should look for an answer, and that we should appreciate that public policy played a role in both causing the recession, and in helping the American economy recover from it. But also important policy changes putting this sector on a more stable footing were reversed for political reasons, and this raises the risk that it could all go terribly wrong again.

Where are we? How did we get here? What next?

Continue reading “American Economic Policy, as told by Martin Feldstein at Harvard University: Lecture 2, Where are we? How did we get here? What next?”

American Economic Policy, as told by Martin Feldstein at Harvard University: Lecture 1, Introduction to Economics 1420

Martin Feldstein Harvard University“This is a remarkable year for studying economic policy in the United States.”

That is how Martin Feldstein began his course “American Economic Policy” for undergraduates at Harvard University. I’ve gone in cognito and hope all the 20 year olds will not notice me—well not really.

It is just one of several courses I’ll audit this spring semester, and besides it was not too hard to hide in the overflowing room, standing room only at least for this first day of class.

Feldstein is a player in US economic policy. The biography on his website says:

From 1982 through 1984, Martin Feldstein was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and President Reagan’s chief economic adviser. He served as President of the American Economic Association in 2004. In 2006, President Bush appointed him to be a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. In 2009, President Obama appointed him to be a member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Since I am slated to teach a similar course at the University of Ottawa next year after my academic leave is over, it makes sense to see how the Harvard professor handles the big macro-economic issues of our time. So every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning it is back to undergraduate economics for me, and I’ll post my edited class notes if you want to follow along, learn some macro-economic theory, and develop an appreciation of the economic challenges facing the United States (and presumably other rich countries).

During the first class Professor Feldstein posed the big questions and issues the course will tackle, as well as laying out some of the administrative  ground work.