Faculty comment on Bush's choice of Bernanke for Fed chair

The following faculty from Princeton University had comments on the Monday, Oct. 24, announcement of President George Bush's selection of former University professor Ben Bernanke to succeed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Bernanke was a professor of economics at the University for 20 years until resigning from the faculty on July 1, 2005. He took a public service leave from the University in 2002 to serve as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Earlier this year, he was selected as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Alan S. Blinder
Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics
(former Fed vice-chairman under Greenspan)

"By virtue of his incredible knowledge of monetary theory and history, his honesty and integrity, his cool temperament, his attention to detail and his previous experience at the Fed, Ben Bernanke has all the ingredients to be a great Fed chairman. I could not be more delighted with the president's choice. Those who don't know Ben will soon be pleased."

Harvey S. Rosen
John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy
(preceded Bernanke as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers before returning to Princeton )

"Ben Bernanke is one of the world's authorities on monetary economics. He is an expert in the theory, institutions and history of monetary economics. In addition, his time on the Board of Governors provided him with valuable practical experience in the conduct of monetary policy. The president has made a superb choice.

"If Bernanke is confirmed, the country will be assured of continued first-rate leadership at the Fed. Bernanke is not in any way dogmatic. He is a practical economist, whose policy recommendations will be determined by the nature of the issues at hand and by the available data.

"Bernanke is a pleasure to work with. He has good leadership skills, remains calm under pressure, and has a fine sense of humor."

Bo E. Honore
Professor and Chair of Economics

"Ben Bernanke is a great economist. His research area was monetary economics and he has also done a great deal of research in macro-economic history. Both will be relevant to his new position if he is confirmed.

"Ben Bernanke is also recognized as being open-minded and broad academically. This is evidenced by the fact that he was appointed editor of the American Economic Review, one of the very best journals in the profession. His public speeches, teaching and the work for his textbook reveal him as a great educator, and this is also certainly important for the Fed job.

"A wonderful administrator, Ben Bernanke greatly improved the economics department when he was chair, and Princeton's Bendheim Center for Finance was started during his term as chair. Ben is extremely well-regarded by economists with throughout the broad array of political opinions."

Burton G. Malkiel
Chemical Bank Chairman's Professor of Economics
(former appointee to the Council of Economic Advisers)

"Ben Bernanke is a superb choice to lead the Federal Reserve. He has worked in the area of Monetary Economics both as a scholar and practitioner his entire life. He is an accomplished analyst of economic conditions and has excellent judgment. I believe the President has made a brilliant appointment."

Gene M. Grossman
Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School. Director, International Economics Section

"Ben Bernanke was an outstanding colleague and department chair, having held the latter position for six years. He was a top-notch scholar, being fair minded, politically astute, level headed and not ideological. So for all those reasons, I think everyone in the department has the highest respect for him. As a matter of fact, I never really thought of him as being from one political party or the other, he's just a very level-headed person. Everyone thought he listened well, was very balanced and not prone to pushing his own agenda."

Harold T. Shapiro
President of the University, Emeritus. Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School

"Ben Bernanke is very smart and a very independent thinker. I cannot imagine a better appointment."

Ricardo A. Reis
Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School.

"Ben Bernanke has devoted much of his career to the study of monetary policy, both through his research as well as through training many generations of future central bankers at Princeton. He could not be more fitting for the role of next chairman of the Federal Reserve."

Anne-Marie Slaughter
Dean, Woodrow Wilson School. Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs. Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School

"Ben Bernanke does us proud. He exemplifies the combination of academic excellence, policy relevance, and government service that the Woodrow Wilson School seeks to honor and promote."

Timeline of Ben Bernanke's career at Princeton University:

  • July 1, 1985 -- appointed professor of economics and public affairs, joint appointment in the Department of Economics and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
  • July 1, 1994 -- named the Class of 1926 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
  • July 1, 1996 -- named chair of the Department of Economics, through June 30, 1999
  • Sept. 1, 1996 -- named the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
  • 1999-2000 -- on leave for academic year
  • July 1, 2000 -- reappointed as chair of the Department of Economics for additional three-year term, through June 30, 2003 (Note: This appointment as chair was not completed)
  • Sept. 1, 2002 -- went on public service leave
  • July 1, 2005 -- resigned position at University