Ben S. Bernanke

The Brookings Institution


Primary Section: 54, Economic Sciences
Membership Type: Member (elected 2021)

Biosketch

Ben S. Bernanke is a Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution. From February 2006 through January 2014, he was Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, having been appointed to that position by both Presidents Bush and Obama. Before his appointment as chair, he was also chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. From 1985 to 2002 he was a professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, chairing the Economics Department from 1996 to 2002. From 1979 to 1985 he was an assistant and associate professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, a BBVA Fellow, and is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He has served as editor of the American Economic Review, the profession’s leading research journal, and as president of the American Economic Association. He has a B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard (1975) and a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT (1979).

Research Interests

Ben Bernanke has published on a wide variety of economic issues, including monetary policy, macroeconomics, and economic history. Much of his work has focused on the interaction between financial conditions and the evolution of the macroeconomy. For example, with coauthors, he developed the concept of a financial accelerator, the idea that endogenous changes in the financial conditions of households and banks amplify the business cycle. He has applied these ideas to the study of the Great Depression, arguing that bank failures that constricted credit were an important source of the economic collapse. His work in monetary policy includes studies of the benefits of formal inflation targets, the role of credit in the transmission of policy, and the development of indicators of the stance of policy. His recent work has used simulations of the economy to evaluate the effectiveness of new monetary tools, like quantitative easing, and of alternative policy frameworks, like temporary price level targeting.   

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