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Lawrence Summers

Charles W. Eliot University Professor

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Website: http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~lsummer/
Publications: http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~lsummer/publications.htm

 

Experience

Lawrence H. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus of Harvard University. During the past two decades, he has served in a series of senior policy positions in Washington, D.C., 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.

He received a bachelor of science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 and was awarded a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1982. In 1983, he became one of the youngest individuals in recent history to be named as a tenured member of the Harvard University faculty. In 1987, Mr. Summers became the first social scientist ever to receive the annual Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and in 1993 he was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40.

He is currently the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University and the Weil Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He and his wife Elisa New, a professor of English at Harvard, reside in Brookline with their six children.

 

 

By Date

 

2014

April 11, 2014

"Idle Workers + Low Interest Rates = Time to Rebuild Infrastructure"

Op-Ed, Boston Globe

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

ARE YOU proud of New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport? It’s a question I ask nearly every audience I speak to these days. JFK, after all, is the largest entry point for foreign visitors arriving in what sees itself as the greatest city on earth.

 

 

April 7, 2014

"What The World Must Do To Kickstart Growth"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

The post-crisis panic might be subsiding but medium-term prospects are problematic

The world’s finance ministers and central bank governors gather in Washington this week for the biannual International Monetary Fund meetings. While there will not be the sense of alarm that dominated the convocations in the years after the financial crisis, the unfortunate reality is that the medium-term prospects for the global economy have not been so problematic for a long time.

 

 

April 6, 2014

"What the World Must Do to Kickstart Growth"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

"The world’s finance ministers and central bank governors gather in Washington this week for the biannual International Monetary Fund meetings. While there will not be the sense of alarm that dominated the convocations in the years after the financial crisis," writes Lawrence Summers, "the unfortunate reality is that the medium-term prospects for the global economy have not been so problematic for a long time."

 

 

March 9, 2014

‘Potemkin Money’ is the Wrong Way to Help Ukraine

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

Events in Ukraine have underscored the importance of effective external support for successful economic and political reform. The international community is finally responding with concrete indications of support.

 

 

February 16, 2014

"Changing the Tax Code Could Help Curb Inequality"

Op-Ed, Washington Post

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

The United States may be on course to becoming a “Downton Abbey” economy. There are valid causes for concern about inequality: sharp increases in the share of income going to the top 1 percent of earners, a rising share of income going to profits, stagnant real wages and a rising gap between productivity growth and growth in median family incomes. A generation ago, it could have been asserted that the economy’s overall growth rate was the dominant determinant of growth in middle-class incomes and progress in reducing poverty. This is no longer a plausible claim.

 

 

January 5, 2014

Strategies for Sustainable Growth

Op-Ed, Washington Post

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

Last month I argued that the U.S. and global economies may be in a period of secular stagnation in which sluggish growth and output, and employment levels well below potential, might coincide for some time to come with problematically low real interest rates. Since the start of this century, annual growth in U.S. gross domestic product has averaged less than 1.8 percent. The economy is now operating nearly 10 percent, or more than $1.6 trillion, below what the Congressional Budget Office judged to be its potential path as recently as 2007. And all this is in the face of negative real interest rates for more than five years and extraordinarily easy monetary policies.

 

 

January 5, 2014

"Washington Must Not Settle For Secular Stagnation"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

We may, writes Lawrence Summers, "as I argued last month in the Financial Times, be in a period of 'secular stagnation' in which sluggish growth and output, and employment levels well below potential, might coincide for some time to come with problematically low real interest rates."

 

2013

November 10, 2013

"Give the Obamacare Bug the Correct Treatment"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

As the president has recognised, the failure on the part of his administration to deliver a functioning website that Americans can use to enrol in “Obamacare”, the Affordable Care Act, represents an inexcusable error....One case of over-optimism will ultimately be forgotten and, or, forgiven. Repeated over-optimism should not, and will not, be excused.

 

 

March 18, 2013

"Europe’s Work is Far From Over"

Op-Ed, Washington Post

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

"Europe’s economic situation is viewed with far less concern than was the case six, 12 or 18 months ago. Policymakers in Europe far prefer engaging the United States on a possible trade and investment agreement to more discussion on financial stability and growth. However, misplaced confidence can be dangerous if it reduces pressure for necessary policy adjustments," warns Lawrence Summers in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

 

 

AP Images

January 21, 2013

"End the Damaging Obsession With Deficit"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

In the two and a half months between the election and this week’s inauguration of President Barack Obama, America’s public policy debate has been focused on prospective budget deficits and what can be done to reduce them. Lawrence Summers writes that while we should address budget deficits, we should "not obsess over it in counterproductive ways – nor lose sight of the jobs and growth deficits that will ultimately have the greatest impact on the way this generation of Americans lives and what they bequeath to the next."

 

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