Public Works in Prosperity and Depression

Public Works in Prosperity and Depression

Public Works in Prosperity and Depression

Public Works in Prosperity and Depression

Excerpt

The studies leading to this volume began in 1929 when Dr. Gayer assisted Dr. Leo Wolman in preparing a report for a committee of the President's Conference on Unemployment upon the Planning and Control of Public Works, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 1930. That pioneer attempt to raise the discussion of public works policies above the speculative level rested upon a statistical foundation, but one that was not very broad. When Dr. Gayer was made a Research Associate of the National Bureau in 1930 he set himself to extend Dr. Wolman's researches. In June 1932 he submitted a report, which was withheld from publication temporarily because further developments in public works policy seemed imminent.

These developments, culminating in the creation of the Public Works Administration, proved to be far greater than had been anticipated. As one part of his organization the Administrator, Honorable Harold L. Ickes, appointed a National Planning Board to consider the problems of long- range planning. This Board needed the best available information concerning the volume of public works undertaken by the thousands of governments that flourish in this country, the fluctuations in volume from year to year, the types of works undertaken, and the numerous factors that bear upon efforts to use public works as an economic 'balance wheel'. Knowing of the materials gathered by the National Bureau, the National Planning Board engaged Dr. Gayer to bring his report as nearly up to date as feasible . . .

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