Academic journal article Brookings Papers on Economic Activity

Editors' Introduction

Academic journal article Brookings Papers on Economic Activity

Editors' Introduction

Article excerpt

THE BROOKINGS PANEL ON ECONOMIC ACTIVITY held its ninety-third conference in Washington, D.C., on March 22 and 23, 2012. The conference was held against a backdrop of a U.S. economy continuing to struggle to recover from the Great Recession, European economies facing renewed crisis and recession, and an unprecedented period of ferment and possibilities for democratic change in the Middle East.

The six papers in this issue address various aspects of these extraordinary developments. The first paper, by Jeffrey Campbell, Charles Evans, Jonas Fisher, and Alejandro Justiniano, examines how the Federal Reserve, having brought its policy interest rate down to its lower bound, can use forward guidance--public statements about its future interest rate actions--to influence the economy. In the second paper, James Stock and Mark Watson compare the dynamics of a wide range of macroeconomic variables in the Great Recession with their behavior in previous recessions and attempt to identity the sources of the recession and the slow recovery. The third paper, by Jay Shambaugh, turns to Europe, arguing that policymakers cannot resolve the continent's troubles unless they recognize that the euro is facing three interrelated crises: a fiscal crisis, a banking crisis, and a growth crisis. …

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