Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, August 28, 2017

Chinn addresses influential economists, central bankers

Chinn addresses influential economists, central bankers

Professor Menzie Chinn of the La Follette School of Public Affairs and UW–Madison’s Department of Economics on Saturday presented a paper about global current account imbalances during the influential Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The 2017 symposium – Fostering a Dynamic Global Economy – also included presentations by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Central bankers, policy experts, and academics discuss global economic issues during the highly watched annual event.

Chinn discussed the recurrence of global current account imbalances and what it means for understanding the origin and nature of the imbalances. “Looking forward, it’s clear that policy can influence global imbalances, although some component of the U.S. deficit will likely remain given the U.S. role in generating safe assets,” he said in his paper The Once and Future Global Imbalances? Interpreting the Post-Crisis Record.

Following Chinn’s presentation, Maurice Obstfeld, economic counsellor and director of research for the International Monetary Fund, provided remarks. “Accurate analysis of current account imbalances is inherently nuanced and subject to big analytical uncertainties,” Obstfeld said, adding that Chinn “is a leader of the intrepid band of international economics who have nonetheless taken on the challenge of explaining global account imbalances.”

Chinn, who joined UW–Madison in 2003, is coauthor with Jeffry Frieden of Lost Decades: The Making of America’s Debt Crisis and the Long Recovery. He is a Research Associate in the International Finance and Macroeconomics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research and on the advisory council of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He also is co-author of Econbrowser, which shares research findings in real time and improves dialogue between academics, policymakers, and people outside the field of economics.

“Menzie’s role at the Jackson Hole underlines his leading role in offering insights on the pressing macroeconomic issues of the day,” said La Follette School Director and Professor Don Moynihan. "UW-Madison is fortunate to have such an influential scholar."