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Thomas Herndon - Loyola Marymount University. Los Angeles, CA, US

Thomas Herndon Thomas Herndon

Assistant Professor of Economics | Loyola Marymount University


Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts






The man who debunked austerity | Interview with Thomas Herndon 28-year old PhD student debunks the most influential austerity study



Professor Thomas Herndon earned his B.A. in Economics from the Evergreen State College in 2007, and his Ph.D. in Economics in 2016 from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research spans the fields of Macroeconomics, Political Economy, Econometrics, and Money and Banking. This research uses empirical and historical methods to analyze the macroeconomic and political economic questions of distribution, instability, and growth within the framework of the economy’s interlocking balance sheets. His research has garnered attention by contributing to debates within economics and policy-making circles. His research has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Economist, Rolling Stone, and the Colbert Report. In 2013, he was selected for the awards, “Bostonian of the Year Honorable Mention,” from the Boston Globe, and “Leading 100 Global Thinkers,” from Foreign Policy.

Education (2)

University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Ph.D., Economics 2016

The Evergreen State College: B.A., Economics 2007


Areas of Expertise (5)

Political Economy


Money and Banking

Applied Econometrics

Heterodox Approaches to Economics

Accomplishments (7)

Most Valuable Professor

Baseball Team, Loyola Marymount University, 2018

Teacher of the Year Award

Economics Department, Loyola Marymount University, 2017

Citation of Excellence

Emerald Publishing, 2017 http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/authors/literati/citations/awards.htm?id=2017.

John Kenneth Galbraith Prize for Dissertation Research

Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2014

Leading 100 Global Thinkers

Foreign Policy, 2013 http://2013-global-thinkers.foreignpolicy.com/

Albert O. Hirschmann “Albie” Award for Best Writing in Global Political Economy

Foreign Policy, 2013 http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/12/31/presenting-the-albies-of-2013/

Bostonian of the Year Honorable Mention

Boston Globe, 2013 https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2013/12/22/bostonians-year-honorable-mentions/PQbwVNvFnmMnGRcfEdjZLL/story.html

Affiliations (14)

  • Cambridge Journal of Economics (Referee)
  • Review of Political Economy (Referee)
  • Competition and Change (Referee)
  • International Journal of Sustainable Development (Referee)
  • International Journal of Public Policy (Referee)
  • International Review of Economics and Finance (Referee)
  • Journal of Economic Policy Reform (Referee)
  • Journal of Globalization and Development (Referee)
  • Rationality and Society (Referee)
  • Review of Social Economics (Referee)
  • Southern Economic Journal (Referee)
  • Structural Change and Economic Dynamics (Referee)
  • Center for Popular Economics (Staff Economist)
  • Graduate Employee Organization, United Auto Workers Local 2322 (Economics Department Steward, Steering Committee Member and Executive Board)

Media Appearances (2)

Austerity's Spreadsheet Errors -Thomas Herndon

The Colbert Report  tv


Graduate student Thomas Herndon identifies little staggering omissions in a prominent academic paper, "Growth in a Time of Debt."

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Interview with Joe Weisenthal, "What'd You Miss"

Bloomberg News  tv


48:50 of this clip

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Event Appearances (17)

A Public Banking Option as a Mode of Regulation for Household Financial Services in the United States

Plenary presentation at Consumer Federation of America Annual Conference  Washington D.C., Dec 2019

Fraud and Misrepresentation in Privately Securitized Auto Loans

Invited presentation, St. Louis Federal Reserve  St. Louis, November 2019

Institute for New Economic Thinking Young Scholars Initiative North American Convening

Faculty Mentor  University of Southern California, Los Angeles, February 2019

A Public Banking Option as a Mode of Regulation for Household Financial Services in the United States

Association for the Promotion of Political Economy and Law (APPEAL) "Money as a Democratic Medium" Conference  Harvard Law School, Cambridge, December 2018

"Designing a Carbon Tax Dividend" by Donald Marron

Discussant, Tax Policy Colloquium  Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, November 2018

The Distribution of Risk and the Great Recession: Old Problems, New Crises

Tipping Points III: Debt Financed Homeownership: It's Evolution, Impact, and Future  Policy Research Symposium, Washington DC, October 2018

A Public Banking Option as a Mode of Regulation for Household Financial Services in the United States

Union for Radical Political Economics 50th Anniversary Conference and Celebration  University of Massachusetts, September 2018

Mortgage Fraud and the Great Recession

Economic Justice Speaker Series  Department of Economics, John Jay School of Criminal Justice CUNY, March 2018

Punishment or Forgiveness? Loan Modifications in Private Label Residential Mortgage Backed Securities from 2008-2014

Macroeconomics Seminar  New School for Social Research Department of Economics, March 2018

Expert Panelist

Teach-in with Congressman Mark Takano  Irvine, California, February 2018

Expert Panelist

Community Meeting Regarding the 2017 Federal Tax Bill with Congresswoman Maxine Waters  Westchester, California, January 2018

A Public Banking Option in the United States

Post-Crisis Economic Strains and Policy in Europe and the US  Association for Social Economics at the American Economic Association Annual Conference, Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, January 2018

Expert Discussant for Tax Reform Panel

Town Hall Meeting with Congresswoman Maxine Waters, December 2017  Los Angeles Harbor College

Punishment or Forgiveness? Loan Modifications in Private Label Residential Mortgage Backed Securities from 2008-2014

Economics Seminar Series  Loyola Marymount University, November 2017

Punishment or Forgiveness? Loan Modifications in Private Label Residential Mortgage Backed Securities from 2008-2014

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts Faculty Research Symposium  Loyola Marymount University, November 2017

When Economics Goes Viral

Keynote Speaker, Festival for New Economic Thinking  Edinburgh, Scotland, October 2017

Mortgage Fraud, Liar's Loans, and the Great Recession

Invited Talk for Department of Economics  University of Missouri, Kansas City, April 2017

Research Grants (1)

Fraud and Misrepresentation in Privately Securitized Auto Loans

Institute for New Economic Thinking 


Courses (3)

Intermediate Macroeconomics

ECON 3200

Advanced Econometrics

ECON 5320

Capitalism and its Discontents

FFYS 1000

Articles (5)

Punishment or Forgiveness? Loan Modifications in Private Label Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities from 2008 to 2014

Review of Political Economy


I estimate the extent to which modifications of privately securitized mortgages increased or forgave debt during the Great Recession and aftermath, from 2008 to 2014. I find that loan modifications weakened household balance sheets by adding $20 billion to household debt, with the net amount of debt added per modification doubling from 2010 to 2014. I also find that the increase in debt is consistent with capitalization of fees, but not missed interest payments. Capitalization of fees is significant because it has been associated with a principal-agent problem between investors and mortgage servicers preventing efficient loss mitigation, as well as consumer financial protection abuses.

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Liar’s Loans, Mortgage Fraud, and the Great Recession

Review of Political Economy


This paper contributes to research on misrepresentation in private residential mortgage-backed securities by using new data on losses from foreclosure to estimate higher than expected losses associated with income overstatement and adverse selection in no/low documentation loans, using full documentation loans as a counterfactual. Overall, no/low documentation loans account for $350 billion of the $500 billion lost from 2007 to 2012. No/low documentation loans lost an additional $5200 per loan, implying $97 billion of total no/low documentation losses were higher than expected. I also find underwriting exceptions differentially predict loss by documentation type, which provides evidence consistent with originator-led adverse selection.

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A Public Banking Option as a Mode of Regulation for Household Financial Services in the United States

Journal of Post Keynesian Econonics

with Mark Paul


The current financial system fails to adequately serve millions of consumers, resulting in widespread financial exclusion and consumer financial protections abuses. To address these problems, this paper proposes a public option in household financial services. A public option as a mode of regulation is defined as the government using the direct provision of services to households and intermediaries as a tool to regulate in the public interest. The public option explored would include two components. First, the federal government would create a public bank that directly provides households with basic transaction services and consumer credit. Second, the public bank would directly provide intermediaries with a service, through managing an online financial services marketplace where public products would compete alongside private products. A public option of this type would create the financial infrastructure required for universal service, as well as prevent consumer financial protection abuses through public-private competition.

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The revenue potential of a financial transaction tax for US financial markets

International Review of Applied Economics

with Robert Pollin and James Heintz

2018, 32:6, 772-806

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Does high public debt consistently stifle economic growth? A critique of Reinhart and Rogoff

Cambridge Journal of Economics

with Michael Ash and Robert Pollin

2014, vol. 38, issue 2, 257-279

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