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Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Indiana University economists to address world economic crisis

March 24, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- With economies around the world suffering through what could become the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Indiana University economists will share their insights and analysis in a symposium intended for students, faculty, staff and the general public.

The event, titled "Worldwide Economic Crisis: Proximate Causes, Historical Perspective and Policy Responses," will take place from 2 to 4 p.m., April 3, in room 100 of Woodburn Hall, 1100 E. Seventh St. It will feature presentations by seven economists, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Global Economy

Eric Leeper, professor of economics and organizer of the forum, and Gerhard Glomm, chair of the Department of Economics, said it is an attempt to get beyond labels, slogans and clichés to examine the causes of the economic crisis and the effectiveness of recovery efforts.

"It's not as though anyone has all the answers, but at least we can have an informed discussion," said Leeper, who directs the Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research at IU Bloomington.

Glomm said the economists will address the goals and potential success of such initiatives as the U.S. government's stimulus package, banking system interventions and monetary policy adjustments.

"It's not a question of labels," Glomm said. "It's a question of looking at useful economic theories and at data, and developing and interpreting the evidence. That's what these speakers are going to talk about."

IU economics and finance faculty members, and alumni with expertise in various aspects of the economy, will each speak for 15 or 20 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session.

  • Gregory Udell, the Chase Chair of Banking and Finance at the Kelley School of Business, will critique the performance of the Federal Reserve and its regulation of financial institutions prior to the fall of 2007.
  • George von Furstenberg, professor emeritus of economics, will focus on inefficiencies and side effects of the government's financial stabilization programs.
  • Elmus Wicker, professor emeritus of economics, and Ellis Tallman, IU graduate and Danforth-Lewis Professor of Economics at Oberlin College, will draw out common features and important differences between the current crisis and historical episodes.
  • Bill Witte, professor emeritus of economics, will compare the current recession with other post-World War II recessions and forecast where the U.S. economy is headed.
  • Brian Peterson, assistant professor of economics, will discuss the Fed's policy response to the crisis, including the expansion of the Federal Reserve balance sheet and the setting of the federal funds rate to approximately zero.
  • Leeper will present the monetary-fiscal policy response and discuss the economic rationale underlying the unprecedentedly large stimulus package.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Economics, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, and by the Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research. For more information, e-mail or go to