Greg Mankiw buries the lede

Greg Mankiw worries that disagreement over fiscal stimulus will obscure the fact that economists agree about lots of things. There is economic consensus about public policy, and Mankiw reprints a nice table from his own textbook to prove it. But item # 4 on that table suggests that there isn't actually much disagreement over fiscal stimulus:

Fiscal policy (e.g., tax cut and/or government expenditure increase) has a significant stimulative impact on a less than fully employed economy. (90% [of economists agree])

Greg notes that this item doesn't distinguish between taxes and spending, which is fair enough. But many of the stimulus critics to which Mankiw has linked (e.g., Eugene Fama) don't distinguish between taxes and spending either. Mankiw's textbook says these economists are well outside the mainstream.

Presented by

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Politics

Just In