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Lawrence Summers

Lawrence Summers

Charles W. Eliot University Professor

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




By Date


2015 (continued)

November 3, 2015

"Larry Summers: Advanced economies are so sick we need a new way to think about them"

Op-Ed, The Washington Post

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

An e-book containing the papers and presentations from the European Central Bank's central banking forum conference in Sintra, Portugal, is now available. ECB President Mario Draghi and his colleagues are to be greatly commended for running a forum that is so open to profound challenges to central banking orthodoxy.

The volume contains a paper by Olivier Blanchard, Eugenio Cerutti and me on hysteresis — and separately some of my reflections asserting the need for a new Keynesian economics that is more Keynesian and less new.

Here, I summarize these two papers. Money

October 24, 2015

"Uniting Behind the Divisive ‘Cadillac’ Tax on Health Plans"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

By N. Gregory Mankiw and Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

One of us, a former member of the Obama administration, remains a fan of the president. The other, not so much. But we agree on one thing: The excise tax on high-cost health care plans, the so-called Cadillac tax, is good policy. Congress should side with President Obama and resist calls to scrap it.



Wikipedia Commons

October 7, 2015

The global economy is in serious danger

Op-Ed, The Washington Post

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

As the world’s financial policymakers convene for their annual meeting Fridayin Peru, the dangers facing the global economy are more severe than at any time since the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008.



September 25, 2015

"Notable & Quotable: Lawrence Summers at Harvard"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

I did not support the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding gays in the military, and believe it should have been repealed long before it was. I believe the invasion of Iraq was a grave mistake and that the United States’ participation in Vietnam was catastrophic. But none of those judgments led me, in any way, to back away from support for the military itself and for those who served in it. I do not believe that the support of this university, or any other university, for the military should be contingent on the political decisions of those who exert civilian control over it.

September 24, 2015

"The importance of global health investment"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

One of the things I am proudest of having done in Washington was having the idea as chief economist of the World Bank that the bank should devote its annual World Development Report to making the case for improving both the quantity and quality of global health investment. The 1993 report, produced by a team led by Dean Jamison, proved more influential than I could have hoped, not least because it drew Bill Gates into the global health arena.




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Larry Summers: Why the Fed must stand still on rates"

Op-Ed, The Washington Post

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

Two weeks ago, I argued that a Federal Reserve decision to raise rates in September would be a serious mistake. As I wrote my column, the market was assigning a 50 percent chance to a rate hike. The current chance is 34 percent. Having followed the debate among economists, Fed governors andbank presidents, I believe the case against a rate increase has become somewhat more compelling than it looked even two weeks ago.



(AP Photo)

August 23, 2015

The Fed Looks Set to Make a Dangerous Mistake

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

Will the Federal Reserve’s September meeting see US interest rates go up for the first time since 2006? Officials have held out the prospect that it might, and have suggested that — barring major unforeseen developments — rates will probably be increased by the end of the year. Conditions could change, and the Fed has been careful to avoid outright commitments. But a reasonable assessment of current conditions suggest that raising rates in the near future would be a serious error that would threaten all three of the Fed’s major objectives — price stability, full employment and financial stability.




August 9, 2015

"Corporate long-termism is no panacea — but it is a start"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

There are not many wholly new areas to open up in economic policy. But in recent months there has been a wave of innovative proposals directed at improving economic performance in general, and middle-class incomes in particular — not through government actions but through mandates or incentives to change business decision-making. The goal is for companies and shareholders to operate with longer horizons and to more generously share the fruits of their corporate success with their workers, customers and other stakeholders.

There are strong grounds for interest in such approaches. After the crises of recent years, the case for relying on speculative markets to drive the real economy — to whatever extent it had validity — is surely attenuated. Instances where successful companies with strong management teams and records of investment have been forced to curtail investment plans are a cause of concern. And we would all like to see middle-class incomes do a better job of keeping up with productivity than they have in recent years.




July 12, 2015

"Incrementalism won't cure these crises"

Op-Ed, The Washington Post

By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

Against a backdrop of slow and diminishing growth forecasts, recent months and especially recent weeks have seen an extraordinary level of financial drama. While not rising to the level of systemic global crisis of 2008, or the 1997 Asia-Russia-Brazil Long-Term Capital Management period of great uncertainty, markets everywhere seem to be thwarting political aspirations.



Wikimedia Commons

July 4, 2015

"Tomorrow Greece votes"


By Lawrence Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor

Tomorrow Greece votes. No one can know the outcome yet. Indeed, my bet is that a third of the voters are not yet sure how they will vote. If polls could not get the British election right, I doubt that they can get this one right. Anything can happen, and it would not surprise me if the vote is a landslide, one way or the other.

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.