Fiscal Policy, Innovation, and Productivity Growth


March 31, 2016, 12:15 PM to 1:30 PM EDT

Vítor Gaspar (Former Minister of Finance of Portugal), Jason Furman (Council of Economic Advisers) and Simon Johnson (PIIE)

Event Summary

Vitor Gaspar, director of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) fiscal affairs department, addressed how fiscal stabilization policies and well-designed fiscal incentives encourage innovation and promote productivity growth on March 31, 2016. Discussants included Ruud de Mooij, IMF; Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Simon Johnson, PIIE senior fellow and the Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT.

Vitor Gaspar has been director of the fiscal affairs department of the IMF since June 2014. He served as minister of state and finance of Portugal during the critical period of 2011–13. Prior to becoming minister, he held a variety of senior policy positions in Banco de Portugal, including most recently as special adviser. He was head of the European Commission's Bureau of European Policy Advisers during 2007–10 and director-general of research at the European Central Bank from 1998 to 2004.

Jason Furman was confirmed by the Senate in August 2013 as the 28th chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. In this role, he serves as President Obama's chief economist and a member of the Cabinet. Furman has served the president since the beginning of the Administration, previously holding the position of principal deputy director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president. He worked at both the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council during the Clinton administration and also at the World Bank.

Simon Johnson has been a senior fellow at the Institute since 2008. He is also the Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he is head of the Global Economics and Management group, a member of the Executive Personnel Committee, and chair of the Sloan Fellows MBA Program Committee. Johnson is also a cofounder of, a member of the FDIC's Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee since its inception, and a member of the private sector Systemic Risk Council since it was founded by Sheila Bair in 2012.