THE BROOKINGS PANEL ON Economic Activity held its eighty-fourth conference
in Washington, D.C., on September 6 and 7, 2007. The conference
was a celebration in honor of William Brainard and George Perry, who
retired this year as editors of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.
Perry is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and had edited the
journal since its inception in 1970. Brainard is the Arthur Okun Professor
Emeritus of Economics at Yale University; he joined Perry as editor in 1980
after the death of Arthur Okun, the other founding editor.
George Perry and Bill Brainard made the Brookings Papers on Economic
Activity one of the premier economic journals in the country. For almost
four decades, the Brookings Papers has presented research on current,
large-scale issues in macroeconomics, broadly defined. The analysis typically
has been empirical, has taken real-world institutions seriously, and has
been relevant to economic policy. In many respects the Brookings Papers
has stood at the intersection of research and policymaking, encouraging
economists to apply the profession’s best knowledge to important policy
issues and to use policy concerns as a spur to research that illuminates
fundamental aspects of behavior. With insight and energy, Brainard and
Perry recruited authors, offered counsel on their research, chose incisive
discussants and Panel members, and edited and reedited papers for substance
and clarity. Their skilled and dedicated stewardship enabled the
Brookings Papers to play a central role in the economics profession and to
have tremendous influence on the conduct of economic policy.
The celebratory conference in September was structured differently
from usual meetings of the Brookings Panel.