Cover image for American economic policy in the 1990's
American economic policy in the 1990's
Frankel, Jeffrey A.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT, [2002]

Physical Description:
1119 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
HC106.82 .A456 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The 1990s saw the best economic performance in the United States in three decades. Strong economic growth and falling unemployment were accompanied by low inflation and rising budget surpluses. Although personal bankruptcies climbed, the personal saving rate fell, and the trade deficit expanded, overall, U.S. economic performance during the 1990s was outstanding.This book is a unique attempt to write the first history of the making of American economic policy during the 1990s. One way to view it is as a "debriefing" of those who made the decisions. Each chapter is devoted to a particular area of economic policy and consists of a background paper written by leading academic economists together with short essays by prominent policymakers, many of whom served in the Clinton administration or previous administrations, and by independent observers. The questions asked about each policy area include: What were the pros and cons of alternative options under consideration? What decision was made? What were the relevant economic arguments for that decision, and what political interests were served? Were other options missing from consideration? Is it possible to judge whether the decision was the right one? Are there lessons for the future?

Author Notes

Alan Kingstone is a Distinguished University Professor and Killam Scholar at the University of British Columbia as well as Senior Scholar at the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research in Vancouver.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Some of the US's most prominent economists (Mankiw, Blinder, Feldstein, Summers, Romer, etc.) examine the major economic (monetary, fiscal, tax, trade, energy, environmental) and social (education, poverty, health) policies of the 1990s. They conclude that the US economy experienced strong growth, low unemployment, and moderate inflation in large part because of good policy decisions. Essays on and discussions of each topic emphasize the variety of policy options considered, the rationale for the option that was ultimately chosen, and retrospective judgments about whether the final choice was optimal. The Clinton administration attempted to combine a promarket orientation with a concern for the environment and a more progressive income distribution. The continuation of a two-decade trend toward deregulation, globalization, and rapid innovation was a fortunate legacy. Jonathan Orszag and Peter Orszag join Laura Tyson in evaluating the National Economic Council under Clinton. Journalists wrote the first draft of the decade's economic history; this book is the second draft. Additional drafts will benefit enormously from the details and insights available in this indispensable volume. Sections on monetary policy, trade policy, and information technology are particularly valuable. Highly recommended for public, academic, and professional library collections. R. T. Averitt Smith College