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Why Do German and U.S. Reactions to the Financial Crisis Differ?

Forum International Service, American University Introduction financial crisis and the subsequent EURO crisis has been the policy divergence between the United States and Germany. Typically, the two countries have broadly similar preferences regarding economic policy. To be sure, this is not the first time that Germany and the U.S. have failed to see eye to eye on economic matters,1 but the recent gap in perception and policy does warrant attention because it has been unusually large. Unlike the famous quarrels between Jimmy Carter and Helmut Schmidt in the 1970s,2 personality does not seem to play a role in this case. What then does explain the gulf? This contribution argues that variance in perception among in the two countries is principally a product of different constructed understandings of the lessons of the economic crises of the 1920s and 1930s, which have been passed down through the years in both countries by the epistemic communities of professional economists to policy-makers. Dissimilar understandings account for much of the discrepancy in the two countries’ policy prescriptions for the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the subsequent EURO crisis. Structural differences between the two economies also play a role, but at a lower level. They http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png German Politics and Society Berghahn Books

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