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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

Mark Lennihan/AP

November 28, 2016

"Will Trump's Plan Really Boost US Demand?"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

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

Ever since Donald Trump won the US presidential election, the press and financial markets have focused on his proposal to cut taxes and to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure over the next decade. The expectation that these policies will increase aggregate demand has pushed up long-term interest rates by 50 basis points.

 

 

Gage Skidmore/CC

November 14, 2016

Squaring Trumponomics With Reality

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

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

President-elect Donald Trump will soon be working with Republican majorities in the House and Senate to reshape tax and spending laws to increase economic growth, raise living standards and protect America’s economic future. His challenge will be to do this in a way that is fiscally responsible as well as consistent with his campaign goals.

 

 

Kurtis Garbutt/Flickr

October 26, 2016

"What Could Go Wrong in America?"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

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

Although the United States economy is in good shape – with essentially full employment and an inflation rate close to 2% – a world of uncertainty makes it worthwhile to consider what could go wrong in the year ahead.

 

 

Pexels.com

September 28, 2016

"How Scary is Disruptive Technology?"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

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

Many people are worried about the fate of those whose jobs are vulnerable – or have already been lost – to the latest disruptive technology. What will happen to the millions of men and women who now drive trucks and taxis when the trucks and taxis can drive themselves? What will happen to the accountants and health workers when computers can do their jobs?

 

 

Caelie Frampton/Flickr

August 23, 2016

"Reducing Inequality and Poverty in America"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

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

With a new American president and Congress taking office just six months from now, the time has come to rethink the government’s programs aimed at helping the poor.

 

 

Daniel Borman/Flickr

July 25, 2016

"America’s Exploding Deficit"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

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

Two recent pieces of budget news are a grim reminder of the perilous state of fiscal policy in the United States. President Barack Obama’s Office of Management and Budgetannounced that the federal government’s deficit this fiscal year will be about $600 billion, up by $162 billion from 2015, an increase of more than 35%. And the annual Long-Term Budget Outlook produced by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that, with no change in fiscal policy, federal government debt will rise from 75% of GDP to 86% a decade from now, and then to a record 141% in 2046, near levels in Italy, Portugal, and Greece.

 

 

AP Photo

July 5, 2016

"Where the Fed Will Be When the Next Downturn Comes"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

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

Testifying before the Senate on June 21, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the chances of the U.S. economy sliding into recession this year are “quite low.” I agree. But the Fed still faces the difficult problem of what to do when the next downturn occurs if interest rates are still extremely low.

 

 

Vera Kratochvil

June 28, 2016

"How EU Overreach Pushed Britain Out"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

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

A thoughtful British friend of mine said to me a few days before the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” referendum that he would vote for Remain because of his concern about the economic uncertainty that would follow if the UK left the European Union. But he added that he would not have favored Britain’s decision to join the EU back in 1973 had he known then how the EU would evolve.

While voters chose Leave for a variety of reasons, many were concerned with the extent to which EU leaders have exceeded their original mandate, creating an ever larger and more invasive organization.

 

 

Flickr

May 23, 2016

"A Debt Agenda for the G7"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

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

On May 26-27, the heads of the Group of Seven leading industrial countries will gather in Japan to discuss common security and economic problems. A major common problem that deserves their attention is the unsustainable increase in the major developed countries’ national debt. Failure to address the explosion of government borrowing will have adverse effects on the global economy and on debt-burdened countries themselves.

The problem is bad and getting worse almost everywhere. In the United States, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal government debt doubled over the past decade, from 36% of GDP to 74% of GDP. It also predicts that, under favorable economic assumptions and with no new programs to increase spending or reduce revenue, the debt ratio ten years from now will be 86% of GDP. Even more worrying, the annual deficit ratio will double in the next decade to 4.9% of GDP, putting the debt on track to exceed 100% of GDP.

 

 

Dan Smith

May 18, 2016

"Ending the Fed’s Inflation Fixation"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

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

The primary role of the Federal Reserve and other central banks should be to prevent high rates of inflation. The double-digit inflation rates of the late 1970s and early '80s were a destructive and frightening experience that could have been avoided by better monetary policy in the previous decade. Fortunately, the Fed's tighter monetary policy under Paul Volcker brought the inflation rate down and set the stage for a strong economic recovery during the Reagan years.

The Federal Reserve has two congressionally mandated policy goals: "full employment" and "price stability." The current unemployment rate of 5% means that the economy is essentially at full employment, very close to the 4.8% unemployment rate that the members of the Fed's Open Market Committee say is the lowest sustainable rate of unemployment.

 
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.