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Lee Ohanian

Lee E. Ohanian is Professor of Economics, and Director of the Ettinger Family Program in Macroeconomic Research at UCLA, where he has taught since 1999. He is an advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and previously has advised other Federal Reserve Banks, Foreign Central Banks, and the National Science Foundation. He has been an economic advisor to state and national political campaigns. His research, which recently has been discussed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other media sources, focuses on economic crises, and as been published widely in a number of peer-reviewed journals. He is a frequent columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and CBS moneyline. He currently serves on the editorial boards of 3 journals. In the past year he has advised the U.S. Senate and the California State Legislature on our current crisis. He previously served on the faculties of the Universities of Minnesota and Pennsylvania, and has been a visiting professor at the Stockholm School of Economics, Arizona State and USC. He is co-director of the research initiative “Macroeconomics across Time and Space” at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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VIDEO: Why FDR’s New Deal Just Made the Depression Even Worse

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 - by Lee Ohanian

One of the most widely-held views about 20th Century America is that FDR’s policies brought the country out of the Depression. But according to my research, FDR’s industrial and labor policies actually prolonged the Depression for several years by subverting the normal process of competition, supply, and demand, and creating industrial and labor cartels that artificially raised wages and prices and substantially impeded job creation. In fact, the total number of hours worked relative to the working age population recovered only slightly as late as 1939. By the late 1930s, FDR realized that these policies were damaging the economy, and economic policies shifted significantly at this time, which made the economy more competitive and which began to reduce artificially high prices and wages. This policy shift resulted in higher rates of economic growth and job creation and set the stage for the World War II economic boom.

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