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Ben Bernanke
Ben S. Bernanke is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. From February 2006 through January 2014, he was Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Bernanke also served as Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the System's principal monetary policymaking body. He is also the author of The Courage to Act.

Ben Bernanke

1 year in: Our new Center for Sustainable Development takes stock

By John McArthurWhat a difference a year can make.  After generating more than 130 public products within in its first 365 days—research papers, journal articles, book chapters, policy reports, blogs, op-eds, podcasts, and public events—the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) at Brookings celebrated our first birthday this past week, on October 21. CSD was launched with a vision of providing leading research, insights, and convenings to advance global sustainable development and...

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Class Notes: Minimum wage and worker productivity, maternal well-being and the safety net, and more

By Beyond Deng, Richard V. ReevesThis week in Class Notes: More generous tax credits improve mental health and reduce smoking and heavy drinking among single mothers, but higher SNAP benefits have the opposite effect. Piece-rate workers in Florida increased their productivity following an increase in the state minimum wage. The common finding of a drop in the share of couples where the wife earns a little more than the husband is explained in Finland by a high proportion of co-working...

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Navigating the debt legacy of the pandemic

By M. Ayhan Kose, Franziska Ohnsorge, Naotaka SugawaraCOVID-19 has left a legacy of record-high debt and shifted the trade-offs between benefits and costs of accumulating government debt. How do these trade-offs manifest themselves? And how does the current debt boom compare with previous episodes? We argue that the debt legacy of the pandemic is exceptional by historical standards in a way that warrants prompt policy action.  The pandemic’s debt legacy  The recent fiscal deterioration in...

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The promise of services-led development

By Gaurav Nayyar, Mary Hallward-Driemeier, Elwyn DaviesManufacturing-led growth has been the central development paradigm for centuries, but it is time to shift the spotlight. The share of industry in total employment across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has, strikingly, remained almost unchanged in recent decades (Figure 1).  Rather, the share of the services sector increased from 40 percent to 50 percent between 1991 and 2018, offsetting almost the entire decline of agriculture....

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Turkey’s Kurdish obsession explains Putin’s gains and US strains

By Ömer TaşpınarThere are some countries where a single issue can explain pretty much everything that is wrong with its domestic and foreign policy. Turkey’s Kurdish predicament is such a case. Ankara’s historic failure to find democratic solutions to Kurdish ethnic demands has created a deeply insecure and chronically irrational Turkish political culture. Almost one hundred years after its inception, the Turkish Republic is still obsessed with the fear and trauma of its foundational...

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Local and national leaders must organize themselves better to build back better

By Alan Berube, Mary Jean RyanCongressional negotiations continue over the size and contents of the reconciliation spending package and its relationship to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (better known as the bipartisan infrastructure bill). Regardless of when these bills eventually become law and how large they turn out to be, officials in cities, regions, and states look poised to receive a historic level of new federal resources. The potential infusion comes as many are still...

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Fed should keep labor markets tight for a more inclusive economy

By Anthony Barr, Kristen E. BroadyThe United States Federal Reserve has a dual mandate from Congress: maintain price stability and pursue maximum employment. A new strategy announced in August 2020 by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell called for a more inclusive employment mandate aimed at boosting employment for workers in low- and moderate-income communities, often people of color. This is in keeping with the Fed’s response to the pandemic’s effect on the economy, which has used...

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Post Afghanistan, US-Pakistan relations stand on the edge of a precipice

By Madiha AfzalWith the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan, Pakistan may have come closer to achieving its long-sought “strategic depth” with respect to its western neighbor, with a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. But the Taliban’s victory is also seriously testing Pakistan’s long fraught bilateral relationship with America. For the last 20 years, U.S.-Pakistan relations have been defined by the needs of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. With that war having ended with an outcome as...

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Stronger and more frequent hurricanes threaten job growth in coastal counties

By Rushaine GoulbourneThe southeastern coast of the United States is threatened yearly by hurricanes, some receiving more media coverage and resources than others. Coastal states such as Florida experience more hurricane impacts than other states and thus the greatest labor market disruptions from these disasters. My recent study analyzes the effect hurricanes have on employment and wage growth in Florida counties. The study also demonstrates the importance of using hurricane strength...

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Legacy cities can think big for transformative impact with ARP funds

By Lavea Brachman, Eli Byerly-DukeThe $130.4 billion of American Rescue Plan (ARP) fiscal relief funds (FRFs) available to local governments would seem tailor made for cities like Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis to deploy in transformative ways. For “legacy cities,” decades of economic decline have generally meant an array of ambitious revitalization plans are queued up but languishing, due to lack of funding and/or political will. Ironically, these informal wish lists of critical...

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