News from EPI Seventeen winners of the Nobel Prize in economics sign letter in support of the President’s Build Back Better package: Statement from Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz

Seventeen recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences have signed an open letter in support of President Biden’s Build Back Better package currently being considered in Congress. Below is a statement from Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz: 

The President’s economic agenda, the “Build Back Better” package being debated in Congress, would provide vital public investments in the nation’s physical and human infrastructure, as well as in our tattered safety net. These investments are long overdue—they were needed before the COVID-19 pandemic, and their necessity has been highlighted by the virus and the economic shock that came with it.

Some, however, have invoked fears of inflation as a reason to not undertake these investments. This view is short-sighted. These are importantly supply side measures, increasing the ability of more Americans to participate productively in the economy, helping to improve our low employment-working age population ratio. Significantly reducing the fraction of children growing up in poverty and giving these children access to pre-K and college education will reap large dividends in years to come. We need safe school buildings and bridges, and affordable child and elder care, whether inflation is 2% or 5%. With the investments being financed by tax increases, the inflationary impacts will be at most negligible—over the medium term outweighed by the supply side benefits; and their progressivity will help address one of the country’s critical problems, the growing economic divide. 

The Build Back Better package will provide much needed support to a still-recovering economy, but it will accomplish much more than that. By meeting long-standing social needs, boosting long-term economic performance, and taking serious steps toward addressing the climate crisis we can already see unfolding, it would transform the U.S. economy to be more efficient, equitable, sustainable, and prosperous for the long run, without presenting an inflationary threat.

I am pleased that 16 other winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics join me in endorsing the contours of this transformative economic agenda. 

Read the open letter signed by 17 recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.