Scott Sumner received a BA in economics from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago. Since 1982 he has taught economics at Bentley University, 8 miles west of Boston. His research interests include the role of the gold standard in the Great Depression, liquidity traps, the use of market expectations in guiding monetary policy, and the history of macroeconomics. He blogs at the Money Illusion.
In his talk, Sumner argues that the Great Depression in America had two main causes. The initial contraction was triggered by a big drop in aggregate demand caused by worldwide gold hoarding (especially in America and France). Then the recovery was slowed by a large drop in aggregate supply resulting from President Roosevelt's high wage policy. He also discusses the Depression in other countries, and some modern parallels.