Larry Summers To Teach At Harvard College, Kennedy School

Former Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers will teach economics classes both at the College and at the Harvard Kennedy School this spring when he returns to campus after serving two years as a senior adviser at the White House.

At the College, Summers will co-teach Economics 1420: “American Economic Policy” with Economics Professors Martin S. Feldstein ’61 and Jeffrey B. Liebman, an academic line up that will put some of the University’s biggest names in one course.

“[The class] is a broad survey of American policy ranging from financial crisis to health care, from social security to energy policy,” Summers said.

Feldstein and Liebman, who have both worked with Summers in the past, invited him to get involved with the course after learning he was coming back to Harvard.

Summers left Harvard—where he served as president between 2001 and 2006—to work at the White House in Nov. 2008. He announced his intention last fall to return to Harvard where he would likely have lost tenure had he not decided to return to Cambridge.


In addition to his course at the College, Summers will also teach a Kennedy School module—a half-semester course—titled “Crisis Economics: History and Evaluation of the Policy Response to the Great Recession.”

The class will be open to all Harvard students and examine global trade, the International Monetary Fund, and different kinds of financial regulation, Summers said.

“We’ll try to focus on both the substance and process of economic policy, emphasizing the decisions made in the first six months [of the economic crisis],” said Summers, who played a significant role in crafting the Obama administration’s response to the recent financial crisis.

Summers, who served as assistant to the President for economic policy and director of the White House national economic council during the recession, said his desire to reflect on his experience at the White House prompted him to teach this class.

“I wanted to try to think through the decisions that we have made,” he said, adding he thought students would be interested in learning more about how the crisis was handled.

“I will try to bring together my experience as an economist with my practical work,” Summers added.

The module will begin the week of March 21, according to Kennedy School spokesperson Doug L. Gavel.

Summers will also serve as the director of the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government that focuses on international policy at the Kennedy School.

—Staff writer Ariane Litalien can be reached at


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