THIS IS THE FIRST ISSUE of Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, a
publication that will appear three times a year and will contain the articles,
reports, and highlights of the discussion from conferences of the Brookings
Panel on Economic Activity. Financed by grants from the Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation and the Alex C. Walker Foundation, the panel was formed to
promote professional research and analysis of key developments in U.S.
economic activity. Prosperity and price stability are its basic subjects.
The expertise of the panel is concentrated on the "live" issues of economic
performance that confront the maker of public policy and the executive
in the private sector. Particular attention is devoted to recent and
current economic developments that are directly relevant to the contemporary
scene or especially challenging, to the expert because they stretch
our understanding of economic theory or previous empirical findings. Such
issues are typically quantitative in character, and the research findings are
often of a statistical nature. Nonetheless, in all the papers and reports, the
reasoning and the conclusions are developed in a form both intelligible to
the interested and informed nonspecialist and useful to the macroeconomic
expert. In short, the papers aim at several objectives-meticulous and incisive
professional analysis, timeliness and relevance to current issues, and
lucidity of presentation.