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Leading Economists Convene at Georgetown Conference

Alan Blinder

Alan Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, joined world-class scholars and economists during the second annual LEAD conference hosted by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute on Sept. 19.

September 20, 2013 – The Georgetown Public Policy Policy Institute (GPPI), soon to become the McCourt School of Public Policy (MSPP), convened world-class scholars and economists yesterday for its second annual LEAD (Leadership, Evidence, Analysis and Debate) conference.

The conference, “Achieving Shared Growth for the U.S. in a Global Economy,” took place during the week of the five-year anniversary of the United States financial crisis.

Georgetown announced on Sept. 18 that GPPI will officially become the McCourt School of Public Policy (MSPP) on Oct. 8.

The new school is funded through a gift from Frank H. McCourt Jr. (C'75) and will focus on solving today's most urgent and complex public policy challenges through multidisciplinary, data-driven research.

“As we move forward in building this new school together,” President John J. DeGioia told the conference audience in his opening remarks, “we are grateful to have so many of you with us today for this conference … which is a testament to the vibrancy and promise of public policy here at Georgetown.”

Sharing Policy Ideas

The annual LEAD conference serves as a forum to discuss domestic and international policy issues and bring together key stakeholders to foster dialogue on potential solutions.

“Here at Georgetown, we have a long tradition of convening conversations on critical topics of the day,” said GPPI Dean Edward Montgomery. “There is no more pressing topic than the health of our economy, and the prospects that it holds for our children – that they can share in the American dream of being better off than their parents.”

“We’re thrilled to serve as a forum to share policy ideas for jump-starting U.S. economic growth from such a wide variety of thought leaders,” Montgomery said.

The Great Dichotomy

Throughout the day, academics and policy practitioners shared strategies to promote shared economic growth across all populations.

The conference included keynote speaker Alan Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, Neil Irwin of The Washington Post, and Alice Rivlin, visiting professor of public policy at GPPI and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Moderators and panelists explored the role of government fiscal and monetary policy, including the debt ceiling, tax reform, regulation, human capital, trade, immigration, innovation and the role income inequality plays in economic growth.

Blinder discussed the sources of growth for the economy and said economic growth is demand-determined in the short run, but supply-determined in the long run.

“This is the essence of the dichotomy,” Blinder said. “There’s a demand side which is running the show in the short run, but it doesn’t last, and there’s a supply side that is running the show in the long but its short run fixes are small. If only policymakers around the world understood that dichotomy better than they do, we might have better policy in general.”

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