Lawrence Summers

American economist, Secretary of the Treasury, college administrator, and U.S. government official

Lawrence Henry "Larry" Summers (born November 30, 1954) is an American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank (1991–93), senior U.S. Treasury Department official throughout President Clinton's administration (ultimately Treasury Secretary, 1999–2001), and former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010). He is a former president of Harvard University (2001–2006), where he is currently a professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Lawrence Summers, 2012



  • The country will not have to pay the piper. Through a combination of sound policy actions and a great deal of good luck we are well on our way to a soft landing and a period of growth and price stability.
  • The things you hear now about European unemployment -- that there are structural problems, that real wages have failed to adjust, that there are inflationary fears -- are the same things that were said during the early 1930. It is well established that government spending began to pull Germany out of its slump in 1935. There is no known reason why spending for peace can't do as well at getting the economy going as spending for war.
  • Takeovers wouldn't cause the stock market to rise unless there is an upward reassessment of earnings (potential). People are more optimistic and confident about the future.
    • Lawrence Summers in: Glenn Pascall (August 16, 1987) "Raiding Can Be Seen As Wake-Up Call For Corporate America", The Seattle Times, p. B4.


I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that. . . . I’ve always thought that countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles. . . . Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty indus- tries to the Least Developed Countries? —Lawrence Summers, confidential World Bank memo, December 12, 1991

  • Things take longer to happen than you think they will and then they happen faster than you think they will.
    • Lawrence Summers in: David Warsh (February 11, 1992) "Avoiding Weimar Russia", Boston Globe, p. 37, Section: Business.
  • No free country will ever again have anything like the 90 percent tax rates that we had in this country. Past a certain point, high marginal tax rates are, indeed, terribly destructive.
  • Where countries have been able to carry through on their reform commitments -- as in Korea, Thailand and the Philippines -- results are starting to come in the form of lower interest rates, new investment and increased growth.
    • David Ignatius (April 12, 1999) "Clinton's Capitulation on China", The Washington Post, p. A23.
  • The situation in a number of countries reminds one that it's still a risky world out there in the emerging markets.


  • We must recognise that in an integrated world, trade cannot be divorced from other concerns. We need to promote free trade and serious global efforts with respect to common problems even as we support every nation's right to chart its own course.
  • I deeply regret the impact of my comments and apologise for not having weighed them more carefully … I was wrong to have spoken in a way that has resulted in an unintended signal of discouragement to talented girls and women.
    • Apology letter addressed to Harvard University community, posted on his website — reported in Reuters (January 26, 2005) "Summers Regrets", The Australian, p. 032.
  • I know that there is one additional thing that I've learned and that is that what Harvard does and says has an enormous resonance that goes beyond Zip code 02138.
    • Philip Kennicott (April 15, 2005) "The Man in The Ivory Tower - Harvard's Lawrence Summers Is a Study in Controversy" The Washington Post, p. C1.
  • With uncertainty in oil markets, a buildup of speculative pressures and the large U.S. current account deficit, there is a real possibility that Paulson's crisis-management skills will be tested.
  •’s important to remember how fortunate we are as a country to have a currency and a bond market that is seen in every way as a source of strength and it’s a huge responsibility for us to keep it that way.

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