The author combines macroeconomic history with a brief exposition of economic theory that stems from and explains that history and explores how that experience may apply to the future. He examines the Great Depression, World War II and the following prosperous quarter century, the stagflation and recovery of the 1970s and 1980s, the information technology boom that lasted through the 1990s, and the current economic crisis. In most macroeconomic crises, the worst case — depression or inflation — is fairly clear, and modern policymakers have the tools at hand to cope. He warns that the worst case now may be both — stagflation — and makes some brief suggestions about the new tools needed and policy suggestions for escaping the worst effects of the crisis.
The research in this report was sponsored by the RAND Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition.
This report is part of the RAND occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.