Archive for August 22, 2012
On August 5th, The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled “Arthur Laffer: The Real ‘Stimulus’ Record”. The author, Arthur Laffer, is an American economist best known for the Laffer Curve. The editorial begins as follows:
Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.
It worked miserably, as indicated by the table nearby, which shows increases in government spending from 2007 to 2009 and subsequent changes in GDP growth rates. Of the 34 Organization for Economic Coöperation and Development nations, those with the largest spending spurts from 2007 to 2009 saw the least growth in GDP rates before and after the stimulus.
Regarding this nearby table, monetary economist David Glasner says the following in a critique of the Laffer editorial:
So how did Laffer perform his calculation? He doesn’t say. All he does is cite the IMF as the source for his table. Thanks a lot, Art; that was really helpful, but unfortunately, not helpful enough to figure out what you are talking about.
Glasner is referring to the fact that the table gives the source of the data simply as “International Monetary Fund”. It does seem that many discussions in the political arena are hamstrung (perhaps purposely) by the failure of the author to give a usable source, much less to explain his calculations. I’ve therefore taken the time to do what Laffer arguably should have done to begin with. (more…)