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What we’ve learned so far about where the economy is headed

There’s still a lot that we don’t know about how economic recovery will play out. Around the time that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act became law, we assembled a group of people who study economic and financial history to ask what the Great Depression can teach us about the economic downturn that the CARES Act was meant to combat.

Eight weeks later, we checked back in with them to talk about what we’ve learned about the crisis since then.

“I think it’s worse than I expected,” said Eric Hilt, a professor of economic history at Wellesley College.

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“A month ago, I wouldn’t have said it will get as bad as the Great Depression because the factors that have caused this are so different, but now I’m not so sure,” said Kathleen Day, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School who specializes in financial crises.

“My expectation is that it will not be another Great Depression,” said Carola Frydman, a professor of finance at Northwestern University who studies financial history. “But I think it’s going to be a very bad crisis in relative terms.”

Back in March, Hilt, Day and Frydman said it would be a good idea to keep an […]

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