How can public employment help speed up the economic recovery and how can we use it in the current recession?

Student learning objectives: understanding the role of fiscal and monetary policy and their efficiency in speeding economic recovery during recessions; analyzing fiscal policy from the Great Depression and the Great Recession; looking at lesson learned and how they can be applied to the current global economic and health crisis.
For this week’s discussion please listen to (or read the transcript) Episode 425 “Remembrance of Economic Crises Past”, from Freakonomics Radio by clicking the link below.

Remembrance of Economic Crises Past (Ep. 425)

We will focus on what we can learn about the role of state and federal government , and uses of monetary and fiscal policy during two recessions that marked the economic history of the United States: the Great Depression (1929-1933) and the Great Recession (2007-2009). The focus will be on the lesson learned and how we can apply them to the current economic recession.

1.Is the US economy currently in an economic recession? What happened to the US GDP in the first quarter this year? What about the second quarter? Explain the difference between yearly and quarterly GDP (to help you research this question, you can listen to a short 10 min podcast from The Indicator from Planet Money.


2.How does the current economic situation compare to the Great Recession? How does it compare to the Great Depression?
3. According to Christina Romer, what was the most effective part of the Recovery Act? What is the most important lesson learned from the Great Recession of 2007-2009?
4. What are the two most important lessons that Romer learned from studying fiscal and monetary policy during the Great Depression and how did they apply to the Great Recession of 2007?
5. In Romer’s opinion, how is the US economy unique compared to Europe, and how will this help us navigate the current pandemic? How can public employment help speed up the economic recovery and how can we use it in the current recession?
6. Is fiscal policy effective in fighting recessions? What does Romer’s research suggest are the most efficient policies?


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