Author Archives: lpretz

Herndon, Ash and Pollin’s work was critical in fight against austerity

Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash and Robert Pollin’s work debunking Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff credited as a critical piece in the struggle against austerity in The New Republic’s article, The Silence of the Austerians

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As The New Republic notes, Herndon Ash Pollin’s paper was critical in the revitalization of the left:

The year 2013 will be seen as a year of crushing intellectual defeat for advocates of fiscal austerity. There were many smaller victories, but this big one came in April. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts examined the Austerian ur-paper, “Growth in a Time of Debt,” by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, which said that countries whose debt-to-GDP ratio reaches 90 percent experience dramatically slower growth. The UMass folks found not only dodgy statistics and backwards causation, but a goof in the paper’s Excel spreadsheet. The causation and statistics errors were more serious, but the fact that elites around the globe had gleefully embraced something with a flub any office temp could understand was horribly embarrassing.

It was an intellectual rout that badly wrong-footed the Austerians, who have since been notably half-hearted in the face of a resurgent left now campaigning on economic justice. This includes, for example, increasing Social Security benefits, which was unthinkable two years ago, when the fight to stop benefits from being cut was nearly lost.

Professor James Boyce’s book ‘Economics, the Environment and Our Common Wealth’ Named named Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

James Boyce

James Boyce

Congratulations are due to Professor Boyce who’s book Economics, the Environment and Our Common Wealth was named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 by Choice Magazine. Choice is widely read by academic librarians in the US.

The book is a collection of essays that combine modern political economy with environmental economics. The essays in the volume cover topics from housing and credit markets to agriculture and globalization. The core of Boyce’s argument revolves around the idea that a clean and safe environment is not a commodity to be allocated on the basis of purchasing power, nor a privilege to be allocated through political power, but rather a basic human right. Building upon this premise, James K. Boyce explores the many ways in which economics can be refashioned into an instrument for advancing human well-being and environmental health.

Léonce Ndikumana is named a UMass Spotlight Scholar

Professor Ndikumana received the honor as a result of his long standing commitment to developing policy grounded in rigorous and high quality research. His recent work has dealt with the role of financial systems in promoting development bank accounts and loans.

In addition to teaching and researching at the University of Massachusetts Professor Ndikumana has been an active contributor to the Political Economy Research Institute’s African Development Policy program.

Beyond PERI and his other research Professor Ndikumana has published a book, Africa’s Odious Debts: How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent with co-author Jim Boyce which addresses the problem of capital flight in Africa.

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