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Gregory Mankiw

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Gregory Mankiw

N. Gregory Mankiw
21st Chairman of the Council of Economic
In office
May 23, 2003 – February 18, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by R. Glenn Hubbard
Succeeded by Harvey S. Rosen
Personal details
Born (1958-02-03) February 3, 1958 (age 56)
Trenton, New Jersey
Alma mater
Awards Wolf Balleisen Memorial Prize (1980)
Galbraith Teaching Prize (1991)

Nicholas Gregory Mankiw (/ˈmæn.kjuː/; born February 3, 1958) is an American macroeconomist and Chairman and Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Mankiw is best known in academia for his work on New Keynesian economics.

From 2003 to 2005, Mankiw was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. In 2006, he became an economic adviser to Mitt Romney and continued during Romney's 2012 presidential bid.[1][2] He is a conservative[3][4][5][6] and he writes a popular blog, ranked the number one economics blog by US economics professors in a 2011 survey.[7] He is also author of the best-selling textbook Principles of Economics, and according to the IDEAS/RePEc rankings, he is the 29th most widely cited economist in the world today.[8] Along with David Card, he was elected vice president of the American Economic Association for 2014.


Mankiw was born in Trenton, New Jersey. In his youth, he attended the Pingry School. In 1975, he studied astronomy at the Summer Science Program.[9] He graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics.[10] He spent a year working on his Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a subsequent year studying at Harvard Law School. He worked as a staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisers from 1982–83, foreshadowing his later position as chairman of that organization. After leaving the Council, he earned his PhD in economics from MIT in 1984. He returned to Harvard Law for a year but, having nearly completed his PhD and realizing he was not as comparatively good at law,[11] he left to teach at MIT for a year and then became an assistant professor of Economics at Harvard University in 1985 and full professor in 1987.

He was appointed by President George W. Bush as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in May 2003. He has since resumed teaching at Harvard, taking over the most popular class at Harvard College, the introductory economics course Ec 10.[12]


He has written two popular college-level textbooks: one in intermediate macroeconomics and the more famous Principles of Economics. More than one million copies of the books have been sold in seventeen languages.

Mankiw is a New Keynesian economist. He did important work on menu costs, which are a source of price stickiness. In 1989, he wrote a paper predicting that the aging of the baby boomers would undermine the housing market in the 1990s and 2000s (decade).[13]

Mankiw has become an influential figure in the Blogosphere and online journalism since launching his blog. The blog, originally designed to assist his Ec10 students, has gained a readership that extends far beyond students of introductory economics.[14] In particular, he has used it as a platform to advocate the implementation of pigovian taxes such as a revenue-neutral carbon tax; to this end Mankiw founded the informal Pigou Club.[15]

From 2003 to 2005, Mankiw was one of President George W. Bush's top economic advisers, and was chairman of the national Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). In November 2006, Mankiw became an official economic adviser to then-Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's political action committee, Commonwealth PAC.[16] In 2007, he signed on as an economic adviser to Romney's presidential campaign.[17]

The Research Papers in Economics project ranked him as the 25th most influential economist in the world as of August 2011 based on his academic contributions.[8]

In February 2013, Mankiw publicly supported legal recognition for same-sex marriage in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.[18]

Controversy and criticism

Benefits of outsourcing

Several controversies arose from CEA's February 2004 Economic Report of the President.[19] In a press conference, Mankiw spoke of the gains from free trade, noting that outsourcing of jobs by U.S. companies is "probably a plus for the economy in the long run."[20][21] While this reflected mainstream economic analysis, it was criticized by many politicians[22][23] who drew a link between outsourcing and the still-slow recovery of the U.S. labor market in early 2004.[23]

Service versus manufacturing

Controversy also arose from a rhetorical question posed by the report (and repeated by Mankiw in a speech about the report):[24] "when a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, is it providing a service or combining inputs to manufacture a product?" The intended point was that the distinction between manufacturing jobs and service industry jobs is somewhat arbitrary and therefore a poor basis for policy. Even though the issue was not raised in the report, a news account led to criticism that the Administration was seeking to cover up job losses in manufacturing by redefining jobs such as cooking hamburgers as manufacturing.[25]

2008–2009 Keynesian resurgence

Main article: 2008–2009 Keynesian resurgence

In November 2008, Mankiw wrote in the New York Times:

"If you were going to turn to only one economist to understand the problems facing the economy, there is little doubt that the economist would be John Maynard Keynes. Although Keynes died more than a half-century ago, his diagnosis of recessions and depressions remains the foundation of modern macroeconomics. His insights go a long way toward explaining the challenges we now confront."[26]

Mankiw has expressed skepticism about a trillion dollar spending package in the face of the global financial and economic crisis. He has vigorously criticized Vice-President Joseph Biden for suggesting there was complete unanimity of support among economists for a stimulus package.[27]

2011 student walkout

On November 2, 2011, some of the students in his Economics 10 class walked out of his lecture. About 60 to 70 out of 750 students participated.[28][29] Before leaving, they handed Mankiw an open letter critical of his course, saying in part:

"we found a course that espouses a specific—and limited—view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today ... Economics 10 makes it difficult for subsequent economics courses to teach effectively as it offers only one heavily skewed perspective rather than a solid grounding on which other courses can expand. ... Harvard graduates play major roles in the financial institutions and in shaping public policy around the world. If Harvard fails to equip its students with a broad and critical understanding of economics, their actions are likely to harm the global financial system. The last five years of economic turmoil have been proof enough of this."[30]

The students concluded their letter by stating they would instead be attending the Occupy Boston demonstration then under way.

Selected bibliography


External links

  • Greg Mankiw's blog
  • Mankiw's page at Harvard University
  • Who is Greg Mankiw
  • "Into the Politics of Economics" New York Times article
  • "Repeat After Me" Wall Street Journal Op-Ed with Mankiw's wishlist of economic proposals
  • "Mankiw Interview with Russell Roberts"
  • Mankiw's ten Principles of Economics, translated
  • New York Times, 9 October 2010

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