International Monetary Fund

Workshops, Seminars and Conferences

The Unemployment Crisis: Costs, Causes and Cures

October 22, 2010

About the Seminar

  • When: Friday, October 22, 2010
  • 10.15 am to 4 p.m.
  • Where: IMF HQ1 Building
    (Room HQ1-01-704, Events Hall)
    700 19th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20431
  • Contact:
  • Language: English (only)
  • Lunch service will be provided


This workshop is part of the IMF’s attempts, in partnership with the ILO and other institutions “to tackle the difficult—but critical—policy questions posed by the steep rise in joblessness and the setback to growth and poverty reduction”

The workshop will tackle issues being debated in policy circles:

  • How much of the increase in U.S. unemployment is cyclical vs. structural? Paul Krugman and Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota have opposing views on this. New work by IMF staff on this topic will be featured at the workshop, along with work by scholars at the Brookings Institution and the Roosevelt Institute.
  • Did the sharp rise in inequality and stagnation in median wages lead to excessive borrowing and ultimately to the financial crisis? Raghu Rajan and Robert Reich have made this argument and it has quickly become part of folklore. New work by IMF staff investigates these links, followed by comments from George Akerlof.
  • Looking down the road, do we need to make our macroeconomic frameworks more employment friendly? Some preliminary thinking by the ILO on this topic will be featured.
  • Till von Wachter of Columbia University will give a keynote luncheon address on the long-term adverse effects on people and their families from temporary spells of unemployment and job loss.


The website contains papers and web links to papers that were presented at The Unemployment Crisis: Costs, Causes and Cures. The views expressed in these papers are those of the authors only, and the presence of them, or of links to them, on the IMF website does not imply that the IMF, its Executive Board, or its management endorses or shares the views expressed in the papers.

The Unemployment Crisis: Costs, Causes and Cures—Program
Friday, October 22, 2010
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM Coffee and Registration
10:30 AM – 12:15 PM Session I: U.S. Unemployment: Cyclical or Structural?
Chair Prakash Loungani
International Monetary Fund
Speakers Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute; Adam Looney, Brookings Institution; Prakash Kannan, Marcello Estevao and Erika Tsounta, International Monetary Fund
12:15 PM – 1:30 PM Session II: Scarred? The Long-Term Costs of Unemployment and Recessions
Chair Mai Dao
International Monetary Fund
Luncheon Address Till von Wachter
Columbia University
Discussant John Irons
Economic Policy Institute
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM Session III: Does Inequality Lead to Debt and Crisis?
Chair Kemal Dervis Brookings Institution
Speaker Michael Kumhof International Monetary Fund
Discussant George Akerlof International Monetary Fund
2:45 PM – 3:00 PM Coffee Break
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Session IV: Do we need Pro-Employment Macroeconomic Frameworks?
Chair Jo Marie Griesgraber, New Rules for Global Finance
Speaker Iyanatul Islam, International Labor Organisation
Discussant Andrew Berg, International Monetary Fund