Fishback was invited to speak about the economic history of the New Deal, the programs that constituted it and how today’s economic struggles compare to those of the 1930s.
“The New Deal was a response to the Great Depression, which was much deeper than anything we've experienced, even deeper than what we experienced in the couple of months when we had unemployment around 17 percent during Covid,” says Fishback. “And what's really interesting is that one of the biggest problems they faced in the early parts of the 1930s is they had deflation, not inflation, and the deflation rate was like 6 percent.”
Fishback joined the Eller College of Management as associate professor in 1990 after teaching at the University of Georgia. He was appointed the Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics in 2010. He earned his PhD in Economics from the University of Washington in 1983. His research area of interest is the political economy of Roosevelt’s New Deal during the 1930s, examining both the determinants of New Deal spending and loans and their impact on local economies throughout the U.S. He also works on state labor legislation during the Progressive Era, the American Economy during World War II and changes in agriculture in response to climate, government policy and technology. Fishback is also a research affiliate at the Centre for Economic History at Australian National University, a CAGE Fellow at Warwick University, a program scholar for the Hoover Program on Regulation and the Rule of Law, a fellow at the TIAA-CREF Institute and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.