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Martin Feldstein

George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

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

Contact:
Telephone: (617) 868-3905
Email: mfeldstein@harvard.edu
Website: http://www.nber.org/feldstein

 

Experience

Martin Feldstein is the George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He served as President and CEO of the NBER from 1977-82 and 1984-2008. He continues as a Research Associate of the NBER. The NBER is a private, nonprofit research organization that has specialized for more than 80 years in producing nonpartisan studies of the American economy. 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. Dr. Feldstein is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Econometric Society and a Fellow of the National Association of Business Economics. He is a Trustee of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Group of 30, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council of Academic Advisors of the American Enterprise Institute. Dr. Feldstein has received honorary doctorates from several universities and is an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. In 1977, he received the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, a prize awarded every two years to the economist under the age of 40 who is judged to have made the greatest contribution to economic science. He is the author of more than 300 research articles in economics. Dr. Feldstein has been a director of several public corporations. He is also an economic adviser to several businesses and government organizations in the United States and abroad. He is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Martin Feldstein is a graduate of Harvard College and Oxford University. He was born in New York City in 1939. His wife, Kathleen, is also an economist. The Feldsteins have two married daughters.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

Will Clayton

March 29, 2016

"China’s Next Agenda"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

CAMBRIDGE – I recently returned from Beijing, where I had spent a week talking with Chinese officials and attending the China Development Forum (CDF), the major annual gathering of Chinese and senior foreign officials and top business executives. The Chinese government had just released its 13th Five-Year Plan, and officials were eager to explain what it means for China’s future.

Although the latest plan contains a seemingly endless list of specific projects and goals, the major new theme this year is “supply-side restructuring,” a term that includes a wide range of policies aimed at boosting economic growth and living standards. The term “supply side” is intended to distinguish these new policies from the traditional demand-side measures of easy money and a slightly larger fiscal deficit that are already aimed at strengthening economic activity.

 

 

Flickr

February 27, 2106

"Stopping America’s Federal Debt Explosion"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

CAMBRIDGE – The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has just delivered the bad news that the national debt is now rising faster than GDP and heading toward ratios that we usually associate with Italy or Spain. That confirms my view that the fiscal deficit is the most serious long-term economic problem facing US policymakers.

A decade ago, the federal debt was just 35% of GDP. It is now more than double that and projected to reach 86% in 2026. But that’s just the beginning. The annual budget deficit projected for 2026 is 5% of GDP. If it stays at that level, the debt ratio would eventually rise to 125%.

 

 

commons.wikimedia.org

January 29, 2016

"The Shortcomings of Quantitative Easing in Europe"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

CAMBRIDGE – Why has the US Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing been so much more successful than the version of QE implemented by the European Central Bank? That intellectual question leads directly to a practical one: Will the ECB ever be able to translate quantitative easing into stronger economic growth and higher inflation?

 

2015

World Economic Forum

December 28, 2015

"The Global Economy Confronts Four Geopolitical Risks"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

The end of the year is a good time to consider the risks that lie ahead of us. There are of course important economic risks, including the mispricing of assets caused by a decade of ultra-low interest rates, the shifts in demand caused by the Chinese economy’s changing structure, and European economies’ persistent weakness. But the main longer-term risks are geopolitical, stemming from four sources: Russia, China, the Middle East, and cyberspace.

Although the Soviet Union no longer exists, Russia remains a formidable nuclear power, with the ability to project force anywhere in the world. Russia is also economically weak because of its dependence on oil revenue at a time when prices are down dramatically. President Vladimir Putin has already warned Russians that they face austerity, because the government will no longer be able to afford the transfer benefits that it provided in recent years.

 

 

December 13, 2015

"The Uncounted Trillions in the Inequality Debate"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

The Federal Reserve recently estimated total household net worth in the U.S. to be about $80 trillion, including real estate and financial assets. And data from the Fed’sSurvey of Consumer Finances imply that the top 10% of households by net worth hold about 75%—or $60 trillion—of this total. The bottom 90% of households therefore have a net worth of about $20 trillion.

 

 

November 28, 2015

"China’s Latest Five-Year Plan"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

I was in Beijing last month when the Chinese government released a preliminary summary of its 13th Five-Year Plan. This is an important document for understanding where China is headed in the 2016-2020 period. And yet China’s five-year plans just aren’t what they used to be.

 

 

Wikipedia Commons

October 6, 2015

"A Tax Boon for Working Women"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

Jeb Bush’s tax-reform proposal ends the ‘marriage penalty’ by allowing spouses to file separately.

....The key to the Bush plan is to allow married couples to file separate returns when doing so is in their interest. In adopting this option, the United States would join most high-income countries that already have some form of separate income taxation for married couples.

 

 

September 29, 2015

"The Chinese Economy and Fed Policy"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

CAMBRIDGE – Janet Yellen’s speech on September 24 at the University of Massachusetts clearly indicated that she and the majority of the members of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee intend to raise the short-term interest rate by the end of 2015. It was particularly important that she explicitly included her own view, unlike when she spoke on behalf of the entire FOMC after its September meeting. Nonetheless, given the Fed’s recent history of revising its policy position, markets remain skeptical about the likelihood of a rate increase this year.

 

 

August 31, 2015

"Will Americans Become Poorer?"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

Robert Gordon of Northwestern University has launched a lively and important debate about the future rate of economic growth in the United States. Although his book The Rise and Fall of American Growth will not be published until January 2016, his thesis has already garnered coverage in the Economist and Foreign Affairs. Clearly, Gordon’s gloomy assessment of America’s growth prospects deserves to be taken seriously. But is it right?

 

 

PIxabay

July 30, 2015

"Are US Middle-Class Incomes Really Stagnating?"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By Martin Feldstein, George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University

The challenge of raising the incomes of middle-class families has emerged as an important focus of the presidential election campaign in the United States. Everyone agrees that incomes at the top have surged ahead in recent decades, helped by soaring rewards for those with a high-tech education and rising share prices. And there is general support for improving programs – such as food stamps and means-tested retiree benefits – that help those who would otherwise be poor. But the public debate is largely about how to help the more numerous (and politically more important) middle class.

 
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.