The US Economy: What Happens Next?

Michael Klein
Michael Klein
Tufts University

Michael Klein is the William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs at Tufts University. He served as the Chief Economist in the Office of International Affairs of the United States Department of the Treasury from 2010-2011. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Non-Resident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution, and an Associate editor of the Journal of International Economics. He has been a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Overview

The US economy has certainly absorbed all sorts of “shocks to the system” in the 250 years since America’s founding but it has never experienced anything like the massive jolt of the past few weeks. Wildly high unemployment filings, huge government bailout plans for both individuals and businesses, and social changes that may have seemed temporary just last month now seem to be permanent. Couple that with a federal government whose branches cannot seem to effectively coordinate their responses and one knows we are in unexplored territory.

      In fact, the worldwide coronavirus pandemic is likely to hit emerging markets and developing economies harder than economies in richer countries. Not only are their public health systems under-resourced to deal with the outbreak, making the containment and treatment of the disease more difficult, but their economies are already being battered by the way in which the pandemic is impacting global demand and financial markets. Where are we and the rest of the world headed in the coming months and years? That’s the sober and disturbing focus of this of-the-moment class.

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