The end of free lunch economics

Raghuram Rajan  |  The University of Chicago Booth School of Business  |  31 January 2022

Smart economic policymaking invariably requires trading off some pain today for greater future gains. But this is a difficult proposition politically, especially in democracies. It is always easier for elected leaders to indulge their constituents immediately, on the hope that the bill will not arrive while they are still in office. Moreover, those who bear the pain caused by a policy are not necessarily those who will gain from it.

That is why today’s more advanced economies created mechanisms that allow them to make hard choices when necessary. Chief among thes...

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