May 2012 Archives

This article comes out in the Deseret News tomorrow morning.

The U.S. economy has been through several rough years, beginning with a severe recession in 2008 and an anemic recovery since.  The economy has actually been growing since June of 2009, but it hasn't felt like it to many Americans.  Jobs have been slow to recover compared to most postwar recessions.  Despite the weakness of the recovery, things are not as bleak as they seem.  The longer the recovery remains weak, the greater the potential for future economic growth.

Utah State Pension Reform

This article by Rick Evans and Kerk Phillips, appeared in the Deseret News last week.The working paper on which this op-ed is based can be accessed at the BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Lab website.

2008 was a bad year for anyone investing in the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 34 percent, and the S&P 500 lost 37 percent. Among those hit with big negative returns was the Utah Retirement Systems (URS), the agency that manages the state pension system. They reported a slightly less devastating loss of just under 25 percent on the pension portfolio.

An op-ed piece that appeared at on May 4th, by Rick Evans, Larry Kotlikoff and Kerk Phillips and based on this paper.

Alex Tabarrok blogs about the piece at Marginal Revolution.

Fiscal sustainability and generational equity are two of the most pressing policy issues of our times. Yet these two highly related concerns are difficult to clearly define, let alone measure.

The standard metric of long-term fiscal imbalance is official government debt (Reinhart and Rogoff 2009). But, as shown in Green and Kotlikoff (2009), official debt, like time and distance in physics, is not a well-defined economic concept.


  • Richard W. Evans is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University

  • Jason DeBacker is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Middle Tennessee State University

  • Kerk L. Phillips is an Associate Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University