This report highlights the major issues that were raised in the workshop presentations and discussion. The workshop agenda and roster of participants are included in the Appendix.
It is important to be specific about the nature of this report, which documents the information presented in the workshop presentations and discussions. The report is confined to the material presented by the workshop speakers and participants, and its purpose is to lay out the key ideas that emerged from the workshop. Neither the workshop nor this summary is intended as a comprehensive review of what is known about the topic, although it is a general reflection of the field. The presentations and discussions were limited by the time available for the workshop; a more comprehensive review and synthesis of relevant research knowledge would have to await further development.
This report was prepared by a rapporteur and does not represent findings or recommendations that can be attributed to the steering committee. Rather, the report summarizes views expressed by workshop participants, and the committee is responsible only for its overall quality and accuracy as a record of what transpired at the workshop. Furthermore, the workshop was not designed to generate consensus conclusions or recommendations but focused instead on the identification of ideas, themes, and considerations that contribute to a better understanding of the issues.
Three workshop presentations provided context for the current situation. In the first presentation, Carmen Reinhart observed that the current economic crisis has affected developed economies, including those of the United States, Europe, and Japan, in a way that has not been seen since World War II. International experience indicates that severe financial crises are protracted affairs and that not all markets recover at an equal pace. Historically, declines in housing and equity prices in the aftermath of a financial crisis have been long-lived, lasting on average for 6 years and 3.4 years, respectively. In addition, Reinhart reported that typically it takes, on average, 4 years for per capita income to recover to precrisis levels, whereas unemployment rates typically continue to increase for a period of nearly 5 years. Financial crises are also usually debt crises: they are typically preceded by surges in private debt, and, in the 3 years following a financial crisis, government debt nearly doubles on average as revenues shrink and fiscal finances deteriorate (Reinhart and Rogoff, 2009).
In the next presentation, Susann Rohwedder presented findings from the RAND American Life Panel (ALP), a nationally representative longitudinal survey that is conducted over the Internet and can collect data with