Research Interests

My main research field is international macroeconomics. My 2009 book with Carmen M Reinhart This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly develops a novel database for studying international financial crises based on annual data for seventy countries covering 800 years. Our research shows shows that financial crises are far more universal than previously believed. Perhaps the most important result from the book was to show that the striking similarities in the aftermath of financial crises across key macroeconomic indicators, including unemployment, housing and stock prices, growth and debt. These similarities are surprising given the vastly different political, institutional, legal and economic circumstances across which various crises have unfolded, and suggest deeper behavioral links. The research has proven quite helpful to policymakers in understanding the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. My 1985 Quarterly Journal of Economics paper took a novel institutional approach to solving the credibility problem in monetary policy that had been identified by (later) Nobel prize winners Kydland and Prescott. At the time of its writing, very few countries had independent central banks incentivized to hit inflation targets. Now it is the norm across much of the world.

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Section 54: Economic Sciences