Pandemic Public Finance: how historic is it?

Hosted by the Department of Economic History in association with the Economic History Advisory Board

Online public event


Professor Olivier Accominotti

Professor Olivier Accominotti

Professor Graciela L Kaminsky

Professor Graciela L Kaminsky

Professor Carmen M Reinhart

Professor Carmen M Reinhart

Professor Thomas J Sargent

Professor Thomas J Sargent

The enormous costs involved in responding to the current pandemic have lifted public borrowing in many countries to levels not seen since the second world war. What does the economic history of earlier periods of very high debt tell us about the current environment of rising public indebtedness and, potentially, higher inflation?

Can we draw parallels between the impact of crisis and war on state’s indebtedness in the past with the consequences of public borrowing in today’s age of independent central banks and aging populations? This panel discussion will bring together experts on the history of finance to examine the fiscal challenges brought about by the pandemic. By situating today’s challenges in their historical context, they will address whether lessons can be learnt from the past about the ways in which debt can be managed and how it will affect the world’s economies in the future.

Meet our speakers

Olivier Accominotti is Professor of Economic History at LSE and a Research Fellow at the Centre of Economic Policy Research. His research interests cover international finance and economic history and he has published extensively in these areas, especially on the international propagation of financial crises, the determinants of global capital flows, the evolution of the foreign exchange market, and the structure of the global financial system and money markets.

Graciela L Kaminsky is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University with expertise in international finance and open-economy macroeconomics.  Her research focuses on contagion, currency and financial crises, exchange rates, fiscal and monetary policies, international capital flows, and sovereign debt crises. She has done extensive research on capital flows to Latin American countries during the first globalisation era of 1820-1931.

Carmen M Reinhart (@carmenmreinhart) is the Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group. Assuming this role on June 15, 2020, Reinhart provides thought leadership for the institution at an unprecedented time of crisis. She also manages the Bank’s Development Economics Department. She comes to this position on public service leave from Harvard Kennedy School where she is the Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System.

Thomas J Sargent is William R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Business at NYU Stern. He was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics, shared with Princeton University's Christopher Sims, for his empirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy.

More about this event

The Department of Economic History (@LSEEcHist) iis one of the world’s leading centres for research and teaching in economic history. It is home to a huge breadth and depth of knowledge and expertise ranging for the medieval period to the current century.

The Economic History Advisory Board assists the Department in promoting its activities with an emphasis on alumni outreach, external relations and events.

This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series imagining what the world could look like after the crisis, and how we get there.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEPostCOVID

Live captions

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How can I attend? Add to calendar

This online public event is free and open to all but pre-registration is required.

Register for this event on Zoom at Pandemic Public Finance: how historic is it?

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This event will be streamed live on Facebook


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