The IMF held a symposium this morning to discuss “Overcoming the Job Crisis”, at which was presented two very interesting IMF Staff Position Notes: The Human Cost of Recessions: Assessing It, Reducing It (by Mai Dao and Prakash Loungani, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/spn/2010/spn1017.pdf) and Cross-Cutting Themes in Employment Experiences during the Crisis (by Reginald Darius, Mwanza Nkusu, Alun Thomas, Athanasios
Vamvakidis, Edouard Vidon, and Francis Vitek; http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/spn/2010/spn1018.pdf).
On the one hand, such discussions may seem esoteric, but they should be accessible to a wide audience because the subject is really something that everyone should be considering.
I wont try to summarize the papers but recommend reading them and thinking about whether they resonate. The discussions were very focused–for which, much credit to presenters and discussants. It is always easy to criticise the work others have done and hopefully the comments will be taken as constructive. Two key points that came up and should be looked at more. First, the inclusion of the US in the country studies (it is large; it is democratic; has flexible labour markets; was at the heart of the recession; has tried a variety of fiscal and monetary policies). Second, the need to look at the impact of fixed exchange rate policies for EU countries and how that can limit their actions to address economic problems.