Robert Pollin

Robert Pollin (born September 29, 1950) is an American economist. He is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and founding co-director of its Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). He has been described as a leftist economist[1] and is a supporter of egalitarianism.[2]

Robert Pollin
Robert Pollin portrait 2017
Pollin in 2017
Robert Pollin Kercheck

September 29, 1950 (age 68)
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin,

New School
Political partyDemocratic


He was the economic spokesperson in Jerry Brown's 1992 campaign for President of the United States.

Pollin moved to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's economic department from University of California - Riverside in 1998. According to Marxist economist Richard D. Wolff, Pollin's department is described as being "left Keynesians, but the Keynesianism is the theoretical frame. Marxism, for sure, is not" while Pollin states that he would be happy to hire Marxists but that economics departments do not produce them any longer.[3]

In 2013, Pollin, with Thomas Herndon and Michael Ash from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, published a paper which found several errors in Carmen Reinhart's and Kenneth Rogoff's widely cited 2010 paper, "Growth in a Time of Debt".[4][5][6]

Pollin and his colleagues defended Nicolas Maduro following the 2013 Venezuelan presidential election stating that audits performed by the Venezuelan government were sufficient and that Maduro won the presidency.[7][8] In June 2015, the leftist Spanish party Podemos partnered with Pollin on a renewable energy plan that they said would create jobs and make Spain more independent with energy.

Personal life

He is the son of Irene Kercheck and Abe Pollin, the former owner of the NBA's Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals.[3] Pollin was part of the family ownership team that sold the Wizards after his father's death.[9]


  • Transforming the US Financial System (ed., with Gary Dymski and Gerald Epstein; 1993)
  • The Macroeconomics of Saving, Finance, and Investment (1997)
  • Globalization and Progressive Economic Policy (ed., with Dean Baker and Gerald Epstein; 1998)
  • The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy (with Stephanie Luce; 1998)
  • Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity (2003)
  • Back To Full Employment (2012)
  • Greening the Global Economy (2015)[10]


  1. ^ Devine, James G. (June 2005). Review of Social Economy Vol. 63, No. 2. Taylor & Francis. pp. 299–301.
  2. ^ Steelman, Aaron. "Breaking into the Mainstream" (PDF). Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Matthews, Dylan (April 24, 2013). "Inside the offbeat economics department that debunked Reinhart-Rogoff". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  4. ^ Herndon, Thomas; Ash, Michael; Pollin, Robert (April 15, 2013). "Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff" (PDF). Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
  5. ^ Goldstein, Steve (April 16, 2013). "The spreadsheet error in Reinhart and Rogoff's famous paper on debt sustainability". MarketWatch.
  6. ^ Konczal, Mike (April 16, 2013). "Researchers Finally Replicated Reinhart-Rogoff, and There Are Serious Problems". Roosevelt Institute. Archived from the original on April 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "Pollin defendió a Maduro en su polémica victoria". La Gaceta. June 22, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  8. ^ Beeton, Dan. "Economists Call on Media to Report "Overwhelming Evidence" Regarding Venezuelan Election Results". CEPR. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "Leonsis close to purchase of Wizards". ESPN. Associated Press. April 28, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
  10. ^ Robert Pollin (November 13, 2015). Greening the Global Economy. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-02823-3.

External links

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Growth in a Time of Debt

Growth in a Time of Debt, also known by its authors' names as Reinhart–Rogoff, is an economics paper by American economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff published in a non peer-reviewed issue of the American Economic Review in 2010. Politicians, commentators, and activists widely cited the paper in political debates over the effectiveness of austerity in fiscal policy for debt-burdened economies. The paper argues that when "gross external debt reaches 60 percent of GDP", a country's annual growth declined by two percent, and "for levels of external debt in excess of 90 percent" GDP growth was "roughly cut in half." Appearing in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007–2008, the evidence for the 90%-debt threshold hypothesis provided support for pro-austerity policies.In 2013, academic critics accused Reinhart and Rogoff of employing methodology that suffered from 3 major errors; they asserted that the underlying data did not support the authors' conclusions. These critics held that the Reinhart-Rogoff paper had led to unjustified adoption of austerity policies for countries with various levels of public debt.Further papers by Rogoff and Reinhart,

and the International Monetary Fund, which were not found to contain similar errors, reached conclusions similar to the initial paper, though with much lower impact on GDP growth. The threshold hypothesis retains adherents as well as critics, who suggest that the thresholds in the relation between public debt and economic growth lack robustness, so a consensus on the 90%-threshold hypothesis in the relation between public debt and economic growth has been elusive.

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List of economists

This is an incomplete alphabetical list by surname of notable economists, experts in the social science of economics, past and present. For a history of economics, see the article History of economic thought. Only economists with biographical articles in Wikipedia are listed here.

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National debt of the United States

The national debt of the United States was $22.03 trillion (as of April 4, 2019). This is the total debt, or unpaid borrowed funds, carried by the federal government of the United States, which is measured as the face value of the currently outstanding Treasury securities that have been issued by the Treasury and other federal government agencies. The terms national deficit and national surplus usually refer to the federal government budget balance from year to year, not the cumulative amount of debt. A deficit year increases the debt, while a surplus year decreases the debt as more money is received than spent.

The US national debt can be divided between intragovernmental debt and publicly held debt.

There are two components of gross national debt:

Debt held by the public, such as Treasury securities held by investors outside the federal government, including those held by individuals, corporations, the Federal Reserve System, and foreign, state and local governments.

Debt held by government accounts or intragovernmental debt, are non-marketable Treasury securities held in accounts of programs administered by the federal government, such as the Social Security Trust Fund. Debt held by government accounts represents the cumulative surpluses, including interest earnings, of various government programs that have been invested in Treasury securities.In general, government debt increases as a result of government spending, and decreases from tax or other receipts, both of which fluctuate during the course of a fiscal year. In practice, Treasury securities are not issued or redeemed on a day-by-day basis, and may also be issued or redeemed as part of the federal government's macroeconomic management operations.

Historically, the US public debt as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. The ratio of debt to GDP may decrease as a result of a government surplus or due to growth of GDP and inflation. For example, debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell over the following 35 years. In recent decades, aging demographics and rising healthcare costs have led to concern about the long-term sustainability of the federal government's fiscal policies. The aggregate, gross amount that Treasury can borrow is limited by the United States debt ceiling.As of December 31, 2018, debt held by the public was $16.1 trillion and intragovernmental holdings were $5.87 trillion, for a total or "National Debt" of $21.97 trillion. Debt held by the public was approximately 76.4% of GDP in Q3 2018. In 2017, the US debt-to-GDP ratio was ranked 43rd highest out of 207 countries. The Congressional Budget Office forecast in April 2018 that the ratio will rise to nearly 100% by 2028, perhaps higher if current policies are extended beyond their scheduled expiration date. The United States has the largest external debt in the world and the 14th largest government debt as a % of GDP in the world.

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Pollin is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Abe Pollin (1923–2009), American sports team owner

Andy Pollin, American radio and television personality

Robert Pollin (born 1950), American economist

William Pollin, American psychiatrist

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A skilled worker is any worker who has special skill, training, knowledge, and (usually acquired) ability in their work. A skilled worker may have attended a college, university or technical school. Or, a skilled worker may have learned their skills on the job. Examples of skilled labor include engineers, software development, paramedics, police officers, soldiers, physicians, crane operators, truck drivers, machinist, drafters, plumbers, craftsmen, cooks and accountants. These workers can be either blue-collar or white-collar workers, with varied levels of training or education.

Thomas Herndon

Thomas Herndon is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Loyola Marymount University, who, as a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, became known for critiquing "Growth in a Time of Debt", a widely cited academic paper by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff supporting the austerity policies implemented by governments in Europe and North America in the early 21st century. His research concluded that these measures may not have been necessary.Herndon proved the paper contained multiple errors, provoking widespread international interest and embarrassment for austerity policymakers. The Reinhart-Rogoff paper was frequently cited during the 2012 U.S. presidential election campaign. It was also frequently cited among policymakers in congress, including in the drafting of the Bowles-Simpson report. However, there are differing views on the actual impact the original paper may have had on policy making.The findings have been described as "shocking" and as having rocked the economics world. Publications such as The Washington Post have for several years taken the conclusions of the Reinhart-Rogoff paper as an "economic consensus view." New York magazine wrote that Herndon "just used part of his spring semester to shake the intellectual foundation of the global austerity movement."

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The University of Massachusetts Amherst is categorized as a Research University with Highest research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In fiscal year 2014, UMass Amherst had research expenditures exceeding $200 million.UMass Amherst sports teams are called the Minutemen and Minutewomen, the colors being maroon, black, and white; the school mascot is Sam the Minuteman. All teams participate in NCAA Division I. The university is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, while playing ice hockey in Hockey East and football as an FBS Independent.

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