The Brookings Panel on Economic Activity held its
ninety-first conference in Washington, D.C., on March 17 and 18, 2011, as
high unemployment continued amid a sluggish recovery. The research in
this volume is directly relevant to the economy’s troubles. The first two
papers study how people have fared in the recession and its aftermath.
The first examines job search and the well-being of the unemployed,
and the second studies the financial vulnerability of households and how
they cope with emergency spending needs. The remaining four papers
contribute to ongoing macroeconomic debates. The third paper analyzes
a historical episode of quantitative easing, to better understand how the
recent unconventional monetary policy might influence the economy.
The fourth paper reexamines the fundamental question of how a government
ought to use monetary and fiscal policy to respond to recessions.
The fifth paper asks why unemployment rose so much less in Germany
during the recession than it did in the United States and elsewhere, and
the sixth paper analyzes the behavior of inflation over the past few years
in light of competing views of the relationship between inflation and