THE BROOKINGS PANEL ON ECONOMIC ACTIVITY held its
ninetieth conference in Washington, D.C., on September 16 and 17, 2010,
just as the economy was struggling to recover from the Great Recession.
The Brookings Papers has always strived to provide timely policy analysis,
and five of the papers in this volume study aspects of the causes and
consequences of this slump. These papers examine the effects of the
business cycle on the incomes of the very richest Americans; welfare, welfare
reform, and poverty during recessions; the failure of modern macroeconomic
models to adequately forecast economic conditions; the role
of shadow banking in the financial crisis and the appropriate regulatory
response; and expenditures by state and local governments over the business
cycle. The remaining paper studies the impact of the No Child Left
Behind Act, a far-reaching education reform that will shape the skills of
the labor force for years to come.