Lawrence Summers

The American people have not become less dedicated to hard work, and the productive potential of this economy has not declined.

Lawrence H. Summers is one of America’s most influential and respected economists, and one of the most distinguished voices in America today on issues ranging from the global economy to education to the role of the United States in the world. He has served as Chief Economist of the World Bank, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, President of Harvard and most recently as President Obama’s director of the White House National Economic Council. Since the 2008 financial crisis he has been a steadfast defender of long-term resiliency of the American economy and the Obama administration’s policies for economic recovery.

As Director of the White House National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, Summers emerged as a key economic decision-maker in the Obama administration. The Economist magazine referred to the “Summers Doctrine” of massive active response to economic downturn combined with respect for markets in the basic allocation of resources as defining the recent approach to economic policy. He served as an architect of the Recovery Act and other job creation measures and the Financial Stability Program.  

Summers served as a key policymaker in the Treasury Department throughout the administration of President Bill Clinton, ultimately rising to serve as Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001. His service coincided with the longest period of sustained economic growth in United States history and he was the only Treasury Secretary in the last 60 years to see the national debt decline on his watch.

One of the youngest tenured professors in the modern history of Harvard, he is the only social scientist ever to receive the National Science Foundation's $500,000 Alan T. Waterman Award for Scientific Achievement. He is also the 1993 recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal for his work in several fields of economics.