Symposium on the Great Depression

Staff: Amity Shlaes, Former Hayek Senior Fellow for Political Economy
March 30, 2009 - New York, NY

"History is an argument without end. That is why we love it so."

These words come from the late scholar of the New Deal, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Schlesinger in turn was quoting a colleague, the historian, Pieter Geyl. It is in Schlesinger's collegial spirit that the Council on Foreign Relations and NYU/Stern host scholars to discuss findings new and old about the single most important economic event in America's history, the Great Depression. What caused the Depression? What was the role of financial institutions in panic and recovery? What was the New Deal's role in this crisis? What lessons can we take away for dealing with our current crisis? Given the current challenges to the economy, a second look at that most relevant period becomes crucial. Nobel Prize winning economists, scholars, historians, writers, and policymakers will converge from across the country to both "get granular" and begin to draw broad conclusions in this day-long inquiry.

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Cosponsor of this symposium is Dean Thomas Cooley of the Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University.

The conference is also supported by a special grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

 

Symposium Summary Report (PDF, 160K)

Meetings

Meeting

A Second Look at the Great Depression and New Deal, Session One: The 1920s - Bubble, Growth, or Gold?

Panelists Michael BordoProfessor of Economics and Director, Center for Monetary and Financial History, Rutgers University, Edward C. Prescott2004 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences; W. P. Carey Chair of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, Benn SteilSenior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations, Richard SyllaHenry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets, and Professor of Economics, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University
Presider Robert E. RubinCo-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations
Introductory Speaker Richard N. HaassPresident, Council on Foreign Relations
March 30, 2009

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Meeting

A Second Look at the Great Depression and New Deal, Session Two: The Role of Labor Policy

Panelists Price V. FishbackFrank and Clara Kramer Professor of Economic History and Labor Economics, University of Arizona, Lee E. OhanianProfessor of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles, Peter TeminElisha Gray II Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Richard K. VedderEdwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Economics, Ohio University
Presider John TamnyEditor, Real Clear Markets
March 30, 2009

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Meeting

A Second Look at the Great Depression and New Deal, Session Three: Infrastructure Spending to Grow

Panelists Jeff MadrickDirector, Policy Research, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School, Ellen R. McGrattanMonetary Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Nick TaylorAuthor, American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA, Anna J. SchwartzEconomist, National Bureau of Economic Research
Presider Simon ConstableVideo Columnist, Dow Jones Newswires
March 30, 2009

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Meeting

A Second Look at the Great Depression and New Deal, Session Four: Keynote - Why a Second Look Matters

Speaker Robert E. Lucas Jr.1995 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences; John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor Economics, University of Chicago
Presider Carl J. SchrammPresident and CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
March 30, 2009

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Meeting

A Second Look at the Great Depression and New Deal, Session Five: The New Financial Deal

Panelists Charles W. CalomirisHenry Kaufman Professor of Financial Institutions, Division of Finance and Economics, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, John H. CochraneMyron S. Scholes Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Thomas F. CooleyDean, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University, Charles GeisstProfessor of Finance, Manhattan College; Author, Wall Street: A History, Ingo WalterSeymour Milstein Professor of Finance, Corporate Governance, and Ethics, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University
Presider Chrystia FreelandU.S. Managing Editor, The Financial Times
March 30, 2009

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Meeting

A Second Look at the Great Depression and New Deal, Session Six: Today’s Path to Growth - What Do the 1930s Tell Us About Now?

Panelists Jonathan AlterSenior Editor and Columnist, Newsweek, Harold ColeProfessor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, James K. GalbraithLloyd M. Bentsen, Jr. Chair in Government and Business Relations, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, Amity ShlaesSenior Fellow for Economic History, Council on Foreign Relations
Presider James F. Hoge Jr.Peter G. Peterson Chair and Editor, Foreign Affairs
March 30, 2009

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