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Researchers Find Critical Flaws in the Foundation of GOP Economic Plans

Released: 4/17/2013 10:20 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Topic: Researchers find critical flaws in the foundation of GOP economic plans

Experts: Co-authors of new study that shatters Reinhart-Rogoff research advocating austerity

Robert Pollin, professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Michael Ash, economics professor and department chair at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Available: Via phone or email, or via satellite for TV segments from on-campus studio in Amherst, Mass.

Contact: Jared Sharpe – 413-545-3809 / jsharpe[at]admin.umass.edu

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Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have found serious errors in a key study that Republican lawmakers use as a cornerstone of austerity plans.

The co-authors of the new report “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff” (pdf) are available to discuss the problems they found in the original 2010 study’s methodology and findings, and how these fatal flaws shatter the underpinnings of conservative approaches to the national debt and the federal budget.

Within minutes of becoming available Tuesday, Krugman, the FT, WonkBlog, The Hill and dozens of other outlets had already jumped on the study.

The following co-authors of the report are available for interview via satellite from Amherst, Mass.:

Robert Pollin, professor of economics and director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Michael Ash, economics professor and department chair at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ash, Pollin, and UMass Amherst economics graduate student Thomas Herndon examined Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff's research on the relationship between public debt and GDP growth for advanced economies in the post World War II period. Reinhart and Rogoff argue that the rate of economic growth for these countries has consistently declined precipitously once the level of government debt exceeds 90 percent of the country's GDP. In recent years, Reinhart and Rogoff's results have been highly influential as support for austerity policies in both Europe and the United States. Herndon, Ash and Pollin find that a series of data errors and unsupportable statistical techniques led to an inaccurate representation of the actual relationship between public debt levels and GDP growth.

They find that when properly calculated, average GDP growth for advanced economies at public debt-to-GDP ratios over 90 percent is not dramatically different than when debt-to-GDP ratios are lower.

To schedule an interview with one of the report’s co-authors, please contact:

Jared Sharpe
News and Media Relations
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Phone: 413-545-3809 / Email: jsharpe[at]admin.umass.edu
www.umass.edu/newsoffice

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