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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 6 No. 2 (Spring 1992)


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Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Setting National Priorities: 1992

Article Citation

Gramlich, Edward M. 1992. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Setting National Priorities: 1992." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 6(2): 3-12.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.6.2.3


More than two decades ago the Brookings Institution first published a book with the title of this lecture. The idea behind the book was straightforward—rather than being led by events, or falling into the trap of incremental budgeting, budgetary planners should try to set priorities. They should figure out where the country and its government budget should be some years hence, and use this priority-setting exercise as a road map on how to get there. In this lecture, I revisit the topic of setting national priorities. The ultimate message is that both the peace dividend and the recession should be viewed as highly visible diversions from what should be the main economic priorities this year. This year, as in other years, economic policy should go beyond advocating simple shifts of resources and delve into deeper questions of structural reforms.

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Gramlich, Edward M. (U MI)

JEL Classifications

E66: General Outlook and Conditions
H50: National Government Expenditures and Related Policies: General


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