Nicholas Gregory Mankiw
Mankiw has written widely on economics and economic policy. As of February 2020, the RePEc
overall ranking based on academic publications, citations, and related metrics put him as the 45th most influential economist in the world, out of nearly 50,000 registered authors.
He was the 11th most cited economist and the 9th most productive research economist as measured by the h-index
In addition, Mankiw is the author of several best-selling textbooks, writes a popular blog,
and since 2007 has written a column, approximately monthly, for the Sunday business section of The New York Times.
According to the Open Syllabus Project, Mankiw is the most frequently cited author on college syllabi for economics courses.
Early life and education
After college, Mankiw spent a year working on his Doctor of Philosophy
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and a subsequent year studying at Harvard Law School
. He worked as a staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1983, foreshadowing his later position as Chairman of that organization. After leaving the council, he earned his PhD in economics from MIT in 1984 under the supervision of Stanley Fischer
. He returned to Harvard Law for a year but, having completed his PhD and realizing he was better at economics,
he left to teach at MIT for a year and then became an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University
in 1985. He was promoted to full professor in 1987 at the age of 29.
Mankiw is widely considered a New Keynesian
although at least one financial journalist says he resists such easy categorisation.
Mankiw did important work on menu costs
, which are a source of price stickiness
. His paper "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics
in 1985, compared a firm's private incentive to adjust prices after a shock to nominal aggregate demand with the social welfare implications of that decision. The paper concluded that expansion in aggregate demand may either increase welfare or reduce it, but the welfare reduction is never greater than the menu cost. A contraction in aggregate demand, however, reduces welfare, possibly in an amount much larger than the menu cost. Put another way, from a social planner's point of view, prices may be stuck too high, but never too low.
This paper was a building block for work by Olivier Blanchard
and Nobuhiro Kiyotaki
on aggregate-demand externalities and for work by Laurence Ball and David Romer
on the interaction between real and nominal rigidities.
In 2002, Mankiw and Ricardo Reis
proposed an alternative to the widely used New Keynesian Phillips curve
, based on the slow diffusion of information among the population of price setters. Their sticky-information model displays three related properties that are more consistent with accepted views about the effects of monetary policy. First, disinflations are always contractionary (although announced disinflations are less contractionary than surprise ones). Second, monetary policy shocks have their maximum impact on inflation with a substantial delay. Third, the change in inflation is positively correlated with the level of economic activity.
A related 2003 article by Mankiw, Reis, and Justin Wolfers
analyzed data on inflation expectations, documenting substantial disagreement among both consumers and professional economists about expected future inflation. This disagreement is shown to vary over time, moving with inflation, the absolute value of the change in inflation, and relative price variability. The paper argues that a satisfactory model of economic dynamics must address these business-cycle moments. Noting that most macroeconomic models do not endogenously generate disagreement, they show that a sticky-information model broadly matches many of these facts. The model is also consistent with other observed departures of inflation expectations from full rationality, including auto-correlated forecast errors and insufficient sensitivity to recent macroeconomic news.
Mankiw has also written several papers on the empirical analysis of consumer behavior, often emphasizing the role of heterogeneity. An article coauthored with John Campbell in 1989 found that the aggregate consumption data are best described by a model in which about half of consumers obey the permanent income hypothesis
and half simply consume their current income (sometimes called hand-to-mouth behavior).
An article coauthored with Stephen Zeldes in 1991 found that the consumption of stockholders covaried more strongly with the stock market than the consumption of nonstockholders does, providing a possible explanation for the equity premium puzzle
Mankiw's most widely cited paper is "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," coauthored with David Romer
and David Weil and published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics
in 1992. The paper argues that the Solow growth model
, once augmented to include a role for human capital, does a reasonably good job of explaining international differences in standards of living. According to Google Scholar
, it has been cited more than 15,000 times, making it one of the most cited articles in the field of economics.
Beyond his work in macroeconomics, Mankiw has also written several other notable papers. In 1989, he coauthored a paper with David Weil examining the demographic determinants of housing demand and predicting that the aging of the baby boomers
would undermine the housing market in the 1990s and 2000s.
In 1986, he coauthored a paper with Michael Whinston
in microeconomic theory showing that, under imperfect competition, entry tends to be excessive in homogeneous goods industries because entrants fail to take into account the business-stealing externality they impose on their rivals; when goods are heterogeneous, it is ambiguous whether free entry produces too many or too few firms because of offsetting business-stealing and product-variety externalities.
Mankiw has written two popular college-level textbooks: the intermediate-level Macroeconomics
(now in its 10th edition, published by Worth Publishers
) and the more famous introductory text Principles of Economics
(now in its 9th edition, published by Cengage
). Subsets of chapters from the latter book are sold under the titles Principles of Microeconomics
, Principles of Macroeconomics
, Brief Principles of Macroeconomics
, and Essentials of Economics
. This book was signed for a record advance. The New York Times
reported in 1995 that Mankiw "was offered a $1.4 million advance by Harcourt Brace in Fort Worth to write a basic economics textbook. That's about three times as big as any other in the college textbook market and rivals those of all but a few celebrity authors."
When the first edition of the Principles
book was published in 1997, The Economist
Mr. Mankiw has produced something long overdue: an accessible introduction to modern economics. By writing more in the style of a magazine than a stodgy textbook and explaining even complex ideas in an intuitive, concise way, he will leave few students bored or bewildered ... Most refreshing, though, is the book's even-handedness. Mr Mankiw seems to revel in setting out how different schools of thought have contributed to economists' current state of knowledge.
Since then, more than one million copies have been sold, and Mankiw has received an estimated $42 million in royalties from the book, which is priced at $280 per copy.
Other career activities
In May 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Mankiw as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
. Mankiw served in that post from 2003 to 2005, followed by Harvey S. Rosen
and then Ben Bernanke. While CEA chair, Mankiw was part of a Bush administration effort seeking greater oversight of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a November 2003 speech to a conference of bank supervisors,
The enormous size of the mortgage-backed securities market means that any problems at the GSEs matter for the financial system as a whole. This risk is a systemic issue also because the debt obligations of the housing GSEs are widely held by other financial institutions. The importance of GSE debt in the portfolios of other financial entities means that even a small mistake in GSE risk management could have ripple effects throughout the financial system.
After leaving the CEA, Mankiw resumed teaching at Harvard, taking over one of the most popular classes at Harvard College
, the introductory economics course Ec 10, from Martin Feldstein
He has become an influential figure in the blogosphere
and online journalism since launching his eponymous blog
. The blog,
originally designed to assist his Ec10 students, has gained a readership that extends far beyond students of introductory economics.
Subtitled "Random Observations for Students of Economics," it was ranked the number one economics blog by US economics professors in a 2011 survey.
From 2012 to 2015, Mankiw served as chairman of the Harvard economics department.
Mankiw is a trustee of the Urban Institute
In 2016 he became a member of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, an effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and run by the Urban Institute. The group of 24 scholars and activists is "a new collaborative aimed at discovering permanent ladders of mobility for the poor. The partnership will identify breakthrough solutions that can be put into action by philanthropy, practitioners, and the public and private sectors."
2004 Economic Report of the President
Several controversies arose from CEA's February 2004 Economic Report of the President. In a press conference, Mankiw spoke of the gains from free trade, noting that outsourcing
of jobs by U.S. companies is "probably a plus for the economy in the long run."
While this reflected mainstream economic analysis, it was criticized by many politicians
who drew a link between outsourcing and the still-slow recovery of the U.S. labor market in early 2004.
Controversy also arose from a rhetorical question posed by the report (and repeated by Mankiw in a speech about the report):
"when a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, is it providing a service or combining inputs to manufacture a product?" The intended point was that the distinction between manufacturing jobs and service industry jobs is somewhat arbitrary and therefore a poor basis for policy. Even though the issue was not raised in the report, a news account led to criticism that the Administration was seeking to cover up job losses in manufacturing by redefining jobs such as cooking hamburgers as manufacturing.
2011 student walkout
On November 2, 2011, a number of students in Mankiw's Economics 10 class walked out of his lecture. Several dozen of the 750 students participated.
Before leaving, they handed Mankiw an open letter critical of his course, saying in part:
we found a course that espouses a specific—and limited—view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today ... Economics 10 makes it difficult for subsequent economics courses to teach effectively as it offers only one heavily skewed perspective rather than a solid grounding on which other courses can expand. ... Harvard graduates play major roles in the financial institutions and in shaping public policy around the world. If Harvard fails to equip its students with a broad and critical understanding of economics, their actions are likely to harm the global financial system
. The last five years of economic turmoil have been proof enough of this.
The students concluded their letter by stating they would instead be attending the Occupy Boston
demonstration then under way. Counter protesters showed up in that class and Mankiw replied to his students in an article in The New York Times
An editorial in the student-run Harvard Crimson
condemned the protest,
stating the following:
The truth is that Ec 10, a requirement for economics concentrators, provides a necessary academic grounding for the study of economics as a social science. Professor Mankiw's curriculum sticks to the basics of economic theory without straying into partisan debate. We struggle to believe that we must defend his textbook, much maligned by the protesters, which is both peer reviewed and widely used.... Supply-and-demand economics is a popular idea of how society is organized, and Mankiw's Ec 10 never presents itself as more than that.
2016 opposition to Donald Trump
In August 2016, Mankiw expressed opposition to the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.
On his blog, he wrote:
Mr. Trump has not laid out a coherent economic worldview, but one recurrent theme is hostility to a free and open system of international trade. From my perspective as an economics policy wonk, that by itself is disqualifying. And then there are issues of temperament.... he does not show the admirable disposition that I saw in previous presidents and presidential candidates I have had the honor to work for.
2019 departure from the Republican Party
On October 28, 2019, Mankiw left the Republican Party and registered as an independent, citing his disappointment in the party's overlooking of President Trump's misdeeds and a wish to vote in either primary in his state of Massachusetts.
Advocacy of Pigovian taxation
Throughout his career, Mankiw has advocated the implementation of Pigovian taxes
, such as a revenue-neutral carbon tax
, to correct for externalities
Toward that end, on his blog he founded the informal Pigou Club
In 2016, he had a part in the Leonardo DiCaprio
film Before the Flood
, a documentary about global climate change, where he was interviewed about carbon taxation.
In 2017, Mankiw was one of eight "Republican elder statesmen" proposing that conservatives embrace of a policy of carbon taxes, with all revenue rebated as lump-sum dividends; the group also included James A. Baker III
, Martin S. Feldstein
, Henry M. Paulson Jr.
, and George P. Shultz
Honors and awards
In popular culture
Mankiw is referenced in the 2011 film Elles
, which shows an episode in the life of Anne (Juliette Binoche
), a journalist writing an article about female student prostitution. When asked about her classes, one of the students, Polish immigrant Alicja (Joanna Kulig
), replies that she has been studying neoliberal economist Greg Mankiw.
On February 18, 2019, Mankiw was mentioned in a clue on the television show Jeopardy!
"N. Gregory Mankiw has penned texts on these 'large' and 'small' fields, relating to how governments spend & how you do."
Mankiw lives in Massachusetts with his wife Deborah, to whom he has been married since 1984.
They have three children, Catherine, Nicholas and Peter, and a dog, Tobin.
- ^ a b Smith, Noah (13 January 2017). "Tribal warfare in economics a thing of the past". The Australian Financial Review. Fairfax Media. Bloomberg. [Joseph] Stiglitz is a hero to the left, while [Greg] Mankiw is a small-government conservative.
- ^ "A Profile of Stanley Fischer". GREG MANKIW'S BLOG. September 19, 2016.
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- ^ a b For Greg Mankiw's blog, see "GREG MANKIW'S BLOG / Random Observations for Students of Economics".
- ^ "Columns and Talks".
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- ^ Maggs, John (October 11, 2003). "Deconstructing the Deficit". National Journal.
- ^ a b "I am no longer a Republican". Greg Mankiw’s Blog.
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- ^ Andrews, Edmund L. "Economics Adviser Learns the Principles of Politics", The New York Times, February 26, 2004. Accessed September 19, 2019. "He describes himself as a lifelong Republican, which sets him apart from many Harvard colleagues. He distributed campaign literature for Richard Nixon in the early 1970's, and he grew up in Cranford, a fairly affluent suburb in New Jersey, the son of an engineer and a teacher."
- ^ CV for N. Gregory Mankiw, National Bureau of Economic Research. Accessed September 19, 2019. "The Pingry School. Graduated, 1976."
- ^ "New Mexico Tech News". New Mexico Tech. June 17, 2004. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
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- ^ Mankiw, Nicholas Gregory. Princeton University. Department of Economics (ed.). "Understanding Employment Fluctuation".
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- ^ Blanchard, Olivier Jean; Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro (1987). "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand". The American Economic Review. 77 (4): 647–666. JSTOR 1814537.
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- ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory; Reis, Ricardo (1 November 2002). "Sticky Information versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve" (PDF). The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 117 (4): 1295–1328. doi:10.1162/003355302320935034. S2CID 1146949.
- ^ https://www.nber.org/chapters/c11444.pdf
- ^ https://www.nber.org/chapters/c10965.pdf
- ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory; Zeldes, Stephen P. (1991). "The consumption of stockholders and nonstockholders". Journal of Financial Economics. 29 (1): 97–112. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.364.2730. doi:10.1016/0304-405X(91)90015-C. S2CID 3084416.
- ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory; Weil, David N. (1990). "The Baby Boom, The Baby Bust, and the Housing Market". NBER Working Paper. W2794 (2): 235–58. doi:10.1016/0166-0462(89)90005-7. PMID 12283640. SSRN 245837.
- ^ Nasar, Sylvia (14 March 1995). "A Hard Act to Follow? Here Goes". The New York Times.
- ^ "Play it again, Samuelson". The Economist. 1997-08-21.
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- ^ "Remarks at the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (Text Only)". whitehouse.gov – via National Archives.
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- ^ Avlon, John (28 February 2013). "The Pro-Freedom Republicans Are Coming: 131 Sign Gay Marriage Brief". The Daily Beast – via www.thedailybeast.com.
- ^ "Board of Trustees". Urban Institute. 2017-10-25.
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- ^ "Bush Econ Advisor: Outsourcing OK". www.cbsnews.com.
- ^ a b "CNN.com - Bush adviser backs off pro-outsourcing comment - Feb. 12, 2004". www.cnn.com.
- ^ Remarks on the 2004 Economic Report of the President to the National Economists Club and Society of Government Economists Archived 2010-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ "In the New Economics: Fast-Food Factories?", The New York Times, February 20, 2004. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
- ^ Oremus, Will (November 8, 2011). "Harvard Students Stage Walkout in OWS-Like Protest". Slate. Archived from the original on December 18, 2011. where some 70 students walked out of an introductory economics class last week to protest what they saw as biased teachings.
- ^ Isidore, Chris (November 2, 2011). "O.W.S. stages walk-out of Harvard econ class". CNN. Jose DelReal, a reporter with The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper, said about 60 students participated in the walk-out.
- ^ "An Open Letter to Greg Mankiw" Archived 2013-01-02 at the Wayback Machine, 'Harvard Political Review, November 2, 2011
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- ^ "Gas Tax Now!".
- ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory (16 September 2007). "One Answer to Global Warming: A New Tax". The New York Times.
- ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory (31 August 2013). "A Carbon Tax That America Could Live With". The New York Times.
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- ^ https://www.clcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/TheConservativeCaseforCarbonDividends.pdf
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- ^ "Elles".
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- ^ "Miss Roloff Has Nuptials". The New York Times. 17 June 1984.
Last edited on 20 April 2021, at 01:54
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