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Lecture: Fiscal Policy & the Pandemic
September 17 @ 6:00pm
Former White House economist to give virtual lecture Sept. 17
From MSU News Service
BOZEMAN—Christina Romer, a former White House economist, will deliver a virtual public lecture on fiscal policy and the pandemic at Montana State University on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m.
Romer will present “Fiscal Policy and the Pandemic: Unprecedented Action and Missed Opportunities,” as the speaker for the third annual Distinguished Lecture Program organized by MSU’s Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics in the College of Agriculture and College of Letters and Science.
The public can tune in to view the virtual Distinguished Lecture by visiting http://montana.edu/regecon.
“We’re very excited that Dr. Romer will be giving our distinguished lecture this year,” said Wendy Stock, the Initiative’s co-director and organizer of the event. “This is a crucial time for us to learn from Dr. Romer’s experience as we forge a path forward through the pandemic and its unprecedented economic impacts.”
Romer is the Class of 1957-Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics at the University of California – Berkeley and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, during which time she had a front row seat for the Great Recession and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
With lingering uncertainty about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rate of economic recovery, governments around the world have deployed mitigation efforts of historic proportions, Romer said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the economy almost to its breaking point—dwarfing even the 2008 financial crisis in its economic devastation,” Romer said. “As in 2009, policymakers have sought to use fiscal policy—stimulus payments, business tax cuts, and increased unemployment insurance—to cushion the impact of the virus.”
In her lecture, Romer will compare the fiscal responses from 2009 and 2020 and will identify lessons for the future, providing an insider’s view of some of the missed opportunities for more effective fiscal policy in both occurrences.
“Apart from being a useful comparison, past recessions and depressions offer lessons on how to recover from the current crisis,” Romer said.
Romer, who received her Ph. D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is widely known for her research on the Great Depression and the volatile economy of the 1930s and ‘40s.
Romer was named as one of the early members to Obama’s financial recovery team following the 2008 presidential election. As chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Romer was a member of the Obama’s Cabinet and was closely involved in developing the president’s plan for recovery from the financial crisis. In announcing her appointment in November 2008, Obama called Romer “one of the foremost experts on economic crises – and how to solve them.”
“Insights from top experts in fiscal policy like Dr. Romer can help Montanans devise effective and efficient policies to help us recover,” said Stock. “This is a crucial time for learning from experience.”
Before heading to the nation’s capital, Romer spent a decade as the Class of 1957-Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley. Previously, she taught economics and public affairs as an assistant professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Among her many honors, Romer is the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award and the Distinguished Teaching Award at UC Berkeley.
Prior to her presidential appointment, she was co-director of the Program in Monetary Economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research and served as vice president of the American Economic Association.
The Initiative’s previous distinguished lectures were presented in 2018 by Angus Deaton Nobel Laureate in Economics, and in 2019 by Daron Acemoglu, MIT professor and author of New York Times bestseller, “Why Nations Fail.” •