Atishoo, Atishoo – we all fall down!

Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008. He won the prize for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity, but he is also well known in academic circles for his work on international finance. In the article below, he looks at the foundations of the current financial crisis. He explains the history of the crisis, the action that has been taken by governments around the world, the likely success of the policies and also the impact of the crisis on the real economy. This is perhaps the issue that is of most concern to us as economists. With recession having taken a grip on many countries, it is important for governments to understand the root causes of the crisis to ensure that their policies address these. The article is an edited extract from The Return of Depression Economics and The Crisis of 2008, by Paul Krugman.

We all go together when we go Guardian (6/12/08)


  1. Examine the role of the US housing market in the origins of the current financial crisis.
  2. What is meant by the ‘shadow banking system’? How does the regulatory approach to the shadow banking system differ from that of the mainstream banking system?
  3. “What’s really worrying is the loss of policy traction: the economy is stalling despite repeated efforts by policy-makers to get it going again.” What does Krugman mean by policy traction? Discuss the possible causes of this policy traction.
  4. Explain why Krugman believes that the financial rescue package will not be sufficient to turn the US economy around.
  5. Assess Krugman’s argument that the only way out of the crisis is a “good old Keynesian fiscal stimulus”..