Dean Baker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dean Baker
Dean Baker.jpg
Born (1958-07-13) July 13, 1958 (age 63)
InstitutionCenter for Economic and Policy Research
Bucknell University
Real estate economics
Urban economics[1]
Alma materSwarthmore College (BA)
University of Denver (MA)
University of Michigan (PhD)
W. H. Locke Anderson[2]
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Dean Baker (born July 13, 1958) is an American macroeconomist who co-founded the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) with Mark Weisbrot. Baker has been credited as one of the first economists to have identified the 2007–08 United States housing bubble.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Baker grew up in the Lake View neighborhood of Chicago.[4]: 205–209  In 1981, Baker graduated from Swarthmore College with a bachelor's degree in history with minors in economics and philosophy. In 1983, he received a master's degree in economics from the University of Denver. In 1988, he received a PhD from the University of Michigan in economics.[2][5]


Baker was a lecturer at the University of Michigan from 1988 to 1989 and an assistant professor of economics at Bucknell University from 1989 to 1992. From 1992 to 1998, he was an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. During this time, he published a paper with Mark Weisbrot in a journal of evolutionary economics.[6]

In 1999, Baker and Weisbrot co-founded the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), an US independent, nonpartisan think tank that produces economic research on US national affairs (social security, healthcare, the US national budget), and international topics (the global economy, the International Monetary Fund or Latin America policy).[7] In that same year Baker was a senior research fellow at the Preamble Center for Public Policy.[citation needed]

Baker has consulted with officials from the World Bank and provided testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and to the OECD's Trade Union Advisory Council.

From 1996 to 2006, Baker was the author of a weekly online commentary on the economic reporting of The New York Times and The Washington Post,[8] the Economic Reporting Review. Since 2006, he has continued this commentary on his blog Beat The Press, formerly published at The American Prospect and now on CEPR's website.

2007–08 United States housing bubble[edit]

Baker won the Revere Award,[failed verification] along with Steve Keen and Nouriel Roubini, for predicting the crash of the United States housing bubble and the resulting recession, which occurred from 2007 to 2008.[unreliable source?][9] He warned about the coming crisis and the related government policies in multiple articles, op-eds and interviews from 2002 to 2005.[10] Basing his outlook on house price data sets produced by the U.S. government, Baker asserted that there was a bubble in the US housing market in August 2002,[11] well before its peak,[12] and predicted that the bubble's collapse would lead to recession. His prediction for when the recession would start was off by only one quarter.[13][14][15][16][17]

Regarding the housing bubble, Baker was critical of Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan.[18][19][20] He has also been critical of the regulatory framework of the real estate and financial industries, the use of financial instruments like collateralized debt obligation, and U.S. politicians and regulators' performance and conflicts of interest.[21]

Baker opposed the U.S. government bailout of Wall Street banks on the basis that the only people who stood to lose from their collapse were their shareholders and high-income CEOs. Of any hypothetical negative effects of not extending the bailout, he said, "We know how to keep the financial system operating even as banks go into bankruptcy and receivership,"[22] citing U.S. government action taken during the S&L crisis of the 1980s.[23] He has ridiculed the U.S. elite for favoring it, asking, "How do you make a DC intellectual look less articulate than Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric? That's easy. You ask them how failure to pass the bailout will give us a Great Depression."[24]


Baker's 2016 book Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer argues that changing how the U.S. economy has been managed over the past 50 years would add between $2 and 3.7 trillion (in constant 2016 dollars) to the U.S. GDP, between 11 and 20 percent. This is summarized in his Table 8-1:[25]

policy billions of 2016 USD % of savings % of GDP
low high low high low high
full-employment $1,115 $2,300 56% 62% 6.0% 12.3%
financial sector waste $460 $636 23% 17% 2.5% 3.4%
patent/copyright monopolies $217 $434 11% 12% 1.2% 2.3%
corporate governance $90 $145 5% 4% 0.5% 0.8%
protecting highly paid professions $100 $200 5% 5% 0.5% 1.1%
Total $1,982 $3,715 10.6% 19.9%

In Rigged, Baker argues that, for example, focusing more on decreasing unemployment and less on minimizing inflation would primarily benefit the bottom 99%, though the top 1% would get some of those gains.

Similarly, Baker suggests that changes in patent and copyright law over the past 50 years have violated their purpose under the Copyright Clause of the Constitution: "To promote the progress of science and the useful arts". He concludes that if the U.S. had spent the same amount on research and media with the results being placed in the public domain, everyone would be better off, with the possible exception of the ultra-wealthy. In particular, the world would be healthier not having to pay patent royalties to U.S. pharmaceuticals.[26]

He also insists that so-called free-trade agreements have exempted MDs and other highly paid professionals, not because of any intrinsic difference in what they do but merely because they have more political power than organized labor.[27]

Political activity[edit]

As a graduate student at the University of Michigan, Baker participated in and was arrested at two sit-ins protesting Representative Carl Pursell's votes for military aid to the Contras. In 1986, Baker defeated Donald Grimes in the Democratic primary and ran unsuccessfully against Pursell to represent Michigan's second Congressional district; his candidacy opposed aid to the Contras.[28][29][30]

In 2020, Baker endorsed Elizabeth Warren's 2020 presidential campaign.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Baker is married to economist Helene Jorgensen. They live in Washington, D.C.[32]


Selected articles[edit]

  • Baker, Dean; Weisbrot, Mark (December 1994). "The Logic of Contested Exchange". Journal of Economic Issues. 28 (4): 1091–1114. doi:10.1080/00213624.1994.11505613. JSTOR 4226888.closed access
  • Baker, Dean; Hassett, Kevin (12 May 2012). "The Human Disaster of Unemployment". The New York Times.



  1. ^ "IDEAS/RePEc: Dean Baker". Research Papers in Economics (RePEc).
  2. ^ a b Baker, Dean (1988). The Logic of Neo-Classical Consumption Theory. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. OCLC 68299542.
  3. ^ Wachter, Paul (January 2010). "Bubble Buster: Dean Baker '80 [sic] saw it coming. But if anything, his gloomy forecasts now look conservative". Swarthmore College Bulletin.
  4. ^ Bain, Ken (2012). What the Best College Students Do. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-06664-9. OCLC 821823403.
  5. ^ "Curriculum Vitae 2014: Dean Baker" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. 2014.
  6. ^ Baker, Dean; Weisbrot, Mark (December 1994). "The Logic of Contested Exchange". Journal of Economic Issues. 28 (4): 1091–1114. doi:10.1080/00213624.1994.11505613. JSTOR 4226888.closed access
  7. ^ K.S., Jomo; Weisbrot, Mark; James, Deborah (15 April 2011). "The Scorecard on Development, 1960-2010: Closing the Gap?" (Video). Center for Economic and Policy Research.
  8. ^ Dean Baker, CEPR, 9 June 2003, Reflections on Economic Reporting: Seven Years of the Economic Reporting Review
  9. ^ [unreliable source?]
  10. ^ " Wall Street Economists: A Research Project on Economic Predictions". Archived from the original on 2013-09-01. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  11. ^ Baker, Dean (August 2002). "The Run-Up in Home Prices: Is it Real or Is it Another Bubble?". Center for Economic and Policy Research. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  12. ^ Reinhart, Carmen M.; Rogoff, Kenneth S. (2009). This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 160 (see table 10.8). ISBN 978-0-691-14216-6.
  13. ^ Robert Manne (May 2009). "The Rudd Essay & the Global Financial Crisis". The Monthly (45).
  14. ^ Dirk J. Bezemer (2009-06-16). "'No One Saw This Coming': Understanding Financial Crisis Through Accounting Models" (PDF). MPRA Paper No. 15892. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 6, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  15. ^ David Smiley (October 8, 2009). "The Economy in Palliative Care". Progress Magazine.
  16. ^ Baker, Dean (2006). Recession Looms for the U.S. Economy in 2007 (PDF). CEPR. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  17. ^ Isidore, Chris (1 December 2008). "It's official: Recession since Dec. '07". Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  18. ^ Dean Baker (28 October 2013). "Alan Greenspan owes America an apology". Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  19. ^ Gwiazda, Nick (31 October 2013). "Financial Crisis: The Guardian's Dean Baker Is Wrong – Alan Greenspan Owes Nobody An Apology". Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  20. ^ Baker, Dean (31 October 2013). "Yes, Alan Greenspan Owes Us a Really Big Apology". Beat the Press. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  21. ^ Dean Baker, The Housing Bubble and the Financial Crisis, Real-World Economic Review, Issue no. 46, 20 March 2008
  22. ^ Beat The Press, March 9, 2008
  23. ^ William Seidman, Who Led Cleanup of S&L Crisis, Dies, Bloomberg, May 13, 2009
  24. ^ Huffington Post, September 30, 2008
  25. ^ p. 215 (p. 222 of 263 in the PDF)
  26. ^ ch. 5
  27. ^ ch. 7
  28. ^ Earle, Rob (22 October 1986). "Baker, Pursell spar in face-to-face debate". The Michigan Daily. XCVII (35). pp. 1, 5.
  29. ^ Cockburn, Alexander (25 October 1986). "Beat the Devil: Dean Baker for Congress". The Nation. 245 (13): 399.
  30. ^ "Opinion. August 2 primaries: Vote for progressive candidates". The Michigan Daily. XCVIII (11S). 29 July 1988. p. 4.
  31. ^ "Elizabeth Warren picks up a slew of new progressive endorsements". NBC News. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  32. ^ Hong, Peter Y. (17 August 2009). "Some saw the housing bubble and sold; trick now is spotting the bottom". Los Angeles Times.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]