While some have argued that the U.S. economic recovery has been sub-par, Professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff — whose research into the aftermaths of financial crises may be the most significant every performed — disagree.
In a recent column for Bloomberg.com, Reinhart and Rogoff say “the aftermath of the most recent U.S. financial crisis has been quite typical of systemic financial crises around the globe in the postwar era. If one really wants to focus just on U.S. systemic financial crises, then the recent recovery looks positively brisk.”
Those saying that the recovery has been slow compared to past recoveries are failing to distinguish between systemic financial crises, like the one the U.S. had, and more minor crises, the professors say. The repercussions of systemic crises are more significant, and the recoveries from them longer and slower, they say.
They also say that those characterizing the current recovery as slow aren’t using the right metrics to gauge the recovery. They discuss why they look at per-capita gross domestic product rather than traditional GDP growth percentages, for example.
When comparing the current recovery to past recoveries from systemic crises, Reinhart and Rogoff say that “so far, [the economy] has performed better in terms of output per capita and unemployment. This is true even if one excludes the Great Depression.”
Reinhart and Rogoff say that the notion that the U.S. “is different”, and that it has tended to recover more quickly from crises than other nations, is misguided. “It is not our intention to closely analyze policy responses that may take years of study to sort out,” they say. “Rather, our aim is to dismiss the misconception that the U.S. is somehow different. The latest financial crisis, yet again, proved it is not.”