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Policy Responses to Modern Economic Crises
Murphy, Daniel Case GEM-0182 / Published September 23, 2020 / 16 pages.
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In March 2020, Jay Powell, Federal Reserve (Fed) chairperson, faced a daunting prospect that only a few months prior seemed like a remote possibility: massive expansion of the Fed's balance sheet. Over the past five years, the economy had experienced steady economic growth, permitting the Fed to reduce its balance sheet. The Fed's economists expected the trend to continue. But the rapidly spreading global coronavirus pandemic (known as COVID-19) had rendered moot all prior forecasts. In addition to the health crisis, the United States—and the world—faced the prospect of another economic crisis—just over 10 years after emerging from the largest recession since the Great Depression. How should Powell and his counterparts who ran fiscal policy respond to the crisis? And to what extent could the policy experiments implemented in response to the Great Recession of 2008 guide the monetary and fiscal policy interventions in response to the pandemic crisis?


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  • Overview

    In March 2020, Jay Powell, Federal Reserve (Fed) chairperson, faced a daunting prospect that only a few months prior seemed like a remote possibility: massive expansion of the Fed's balance sheet. Over the past five years, the economy had experienced steady economic growth, permitting the Fed to reduce its balance sheet. The Fed's economists expected the trend to continue. But the rapidly spreading global coronavirus pandemic (known as COVID-19) had rendered moot all prior forecasts. In addition to the health crisis, the United States—and the world—faced the prospect of another economic crisis—just over 10 years after emerging from the largest recession since the Great Depression. How should Powell and his counterparts who ran fiscal policy respond to the crisis? And to what extent could the policy experiments implemented in response to the Great Recession of 2008 guide the monetary and fiscal policy interventions in response to the pandemic crisis?

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