THIS ISSUE OF THE Brookings Papers on Economic Activity contains
papers and discussions presented at the forty-sixth conference of the
Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, which was held in Washington,
D.C., on September 15 and 16, 1988. The first major paper focuses on
the post-1973 slowdown of U.S. productivity growth and on the extent
to which measurement problems may have distorted our perception of
the slowdown. The second paper challenges the validity of the widely
accepted natural rate hypothesis and argues that demand management
can affect an economy's long-run average level of output and unemployment.
The third major paper presents a new model of labor turnover in
the United States and relates it to competing macroeconomic theories.
The first of four reports in this issue examines capital gains taxation in
the United States, with emphasis on the revenue consequences of cutting
the capital gains tax rate. The second challenges prevailing hard-landing
scenarios associated with the U.S. budget and trade deficits. Two final
reports assess the dangers and benefits of debt buybacks, an increasingly
popular debt-reduction strategy of LDC debtors.