President Bush has nominated Ben Bernanke, 51, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
If confirmed by the Senate, Bernanke would succeed Alan Greenspan, 79, who has served as Fed chairman since August 1987 — through the longest economic expansion in history, as well as two recessions, two stock-market collapses, and the breathtaking rise and fall of tech and Internet stocks. Greenspan’s current term ends January 31.
In a press conference, President Bush — who hailed Greenspan’s “prudent judgment and wise policies” for keeping inflation low — also praised Bernanke’s “intellectual rigor and integrity.” For his part, the nominee said that if confirmed, his immediate priority would be to maintain “continuity with the policies and policy strategies of the Greenspan years.”
The Associated Press pointed out that unlike Greenspan, Bernanke believes that the Fed should set targets for inflation; otherwise, they share a similar philosophy. Indeed, the wire service noted that during his three years as a Federal Reserve governor — he left that post in June to join the CEA — market observers would often look at Bernanke’s speeches for insight into Greenspan’s thinking.
Before joining the Fed, Bernanke had served as a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University since 1985; he became chairman of the department in 1996. He has published many articles on a wide variety of economic issues, including monetary policy and macroeconomics, and he is the author of several scholarly books and two textbooks.
Bernanke has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship, and he is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also served as director of the Monetary Economics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research and as a member of the bureau’s Business Cycle Dating Committee.
He received a B.A. in economics in 1975 from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in economics in 1979 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.