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Editors’ Summary of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity – 1998 No 1



THE BROOKINGS PANEL on Economic Activity held its sixty-fifth conference
in Washington, D.C., on March 26 and 27, 1998. This issue of
Brookings Papers includes the papers, reports, and discussions presented
at the conference. The first paper analyses the causes and the
treatment of the recent financial crisis in East Asia, focusing in particular
on the International Monetary Fund's interventions, in order to
develop guidelines for new international workout arrangements that
would prevent or swiftly resolve future financial crises. The second
presents a new model of saving over the life cycle and uses it to examine
the effect of instruments that commit savers, such as defined contribution
pension plans with penalties for early withdrawal. The third paper
challenges the notion that deficit-reducing reforms are politically costly,
and relates the "success" of such programs to the composition of the
fiscal changes. Using household survey data, the first report depicts
patterns of wealth holding and wealth accumulation among American
families since the mid- 1980s, analyzing the roles of different forms of
saving in the accumulation of wealth. The concluding report examines
the effects of hours reductions on employment and wages, and considers
the motivation behind pressure for work-sharing arrangements in

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