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No Signs U.S. Catching Up With Growth Trend, Stiglitz Says

The U.S. economy is showing no signs of catching up with its past growth trend and advanced economies are at risk of “Japanese-style malaise,” Columbia University Professor and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz said.

The world’s largest economy is “about 15 percent below trend and there is little prospect of catching up any time soon,” Stiglitz said in a speech in Johannesburg today.

The Federal Reserve embarked on an unprecedented stimulus campaign since 2008 to pull the economy out of recession following the financial crisis. The Obama administration said in its budget plan yesterday that the economy will expand 3.1 percent this year, up from 1.9 percent in 2013, while unemployment will average 6.9 percent.

Europe’s outlook is worse with Spain and Greece “facing depression, with huge consequences for future potential growth,” Stiglitz said. “The European economy is likely to remain weak for years to come.”

Stiglitz criticized the inflation-targeting policy of the European Central Bank, saying it’s not appropriate in an environment of weak demand and rising unemployment.

Inflation-targeting is “increasingly discredited in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis,” he said. “The attention on inflation diverted attention from things that were more important.”

Stiglitz, 71, served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors during President Bill Clinton’s administration, and later as chief economist at the World Bank. Stiglitz has been a strong advocate of the Fed’s unprecedented monetary stimulus aimed at stoking the expansion. He won the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics with the University of California’s George Akerlof and A. Michael Spence, a professor at New York University.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rene Vollgraaff in Johannesburg at rvollgraaff@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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