In defense of public debt


September 17, 2021, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT
Virtual Event

Barry Eichengreen (University of California, Berkeley), Anna Gelpern (PIIE), Maya MacGuineas (Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget) and Peter Orszag (CEO of Financial Advisory, Lazard; Board Member, PIIE)

Event Summary

Barry Eichengreen, professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley, presented his new book, In Defense of Public Debt, at a book release held by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE).

Eichengreen and his coauthors argue that governments' ability to issue debt has played a critical role in addressing national emergencies—from wars and pandemics to economic and financial crises, as well as in funding essential public goods and services such as transportation, education, and healthcare. In these ways, the capacity to issue debt has been integral to state building and state survival. Public debt securities have contributed to the development of private financial markets and, through this channel, to modern economic growth.

Discussants included: Anna Gelpern, PIIE nonresident senior fellow and Anne Fleming Research Professor at Georgetown University Law Center; Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; and Peter R. Orszag, CEO of Financial Advisory, Lazard, and PIIE Board member. PIIE president Adam S. Posen moderated the Q&A and discussion with the audience.