Sure, but What’s the Spend-Out?

I’m a fan of listening to lectures in my car, so recently I listened to Wake Forest Professor Robert Whaples’ lectures on Modern Economic Issues from the Teaching Company.  Good stuff and I recommend the lectures to anyone wanting to get a great perspective on a number of everyday issues.

[As an aside, the lectures were produced just prior to the current economic challenges, so it’s downright humorous to hear the glowing discussion of our American economy.  I have no doubt it WAS and may still be a marvel, but I believe some revision to the mantra is in order — certainly the first lecture should be taken with a good dose of salt.]

Professor Whaples made reference to Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw’s blog, so I started reading it.  Also good stuff and it’s nice to see what another professor thinks about day-to-day issues.

His current post shows how the unemployment rate has actually played out since early 2009 as compared to Government predictions, and I just wanted to ask one more question about that graph.  In a previous post, Professor Mankiw references some discussions with a government source indicating that they would not only be interested in the multipliers used to predict the effect on the economy, but also in the spend-out rate, which I presume is the rate that stimulus funds were “actually” spent, not how they were planned to be spent in early 2009.  I’m hoping someone or Professor Mankiw can also get that information, since I would hypothesize that the spend-out rate will look significantly different from the projections, as well.

This stimulus has been an interesting experiment to test many of the basic assumptions that I’ve read about and learned about for years, and I’m sure many folks will be watching as we see whether reality matches our theories.