Bernanke Profile; US-based vs Others-based economists

John Cassidy of New Yorker has a superb profile of one of the Men at Centre- Ben Bernanke. It discusses how a low-profiled economist (though always a great economist) went onto get the job of the most powerful economic policymaker in the world.

I came across this passage:

Another expert who dissented from the Greenspan-Bernanke line was William White, the former economics adviser at the Bank for International Settlements, a publicly funded organization based in Basel, Switzerland, which serves as a central bank for central banks. In 2003, White and a colleague, Claudio Borio, attended the annual conference in Jackson Hole, where they argued that policymakers needed to take greater account of asset prices and credit expansion in setting interest rates, and that if a bubble appeared to be developing they ought to “lean against the wind”—raise rates. The audience, which included Greenspan and Bernanke, responded coolly. “Ben Bernanke really believes that it is impossible to lean against the wind on the way up and that it is possible to clean up the mess afterwards,” White told me recently. “Both of these propositions are unproven.”

Between 2004 and 2007, White and his colleagues continued to warn about the global credit boom, but they were largely ignored in the United States. “In the field of economics, American academics have such a large reputation that they sweep all before them,” White said. “If you add to that the personal reputation of the Maestro”—Greenspan—“it was very difficult for anybody else to come in and say there are problems building.”

The line of dissent was whether mon policy should target asset prices. Greenspan and later Bernanke said it shouldn’t and can’t. White and Borio said it can and should.

But yeah, this American economist vs other economist ios a worthy debate. Why don’t other places produce as good economists? In search of home grown economists and phd education is relevant to most.

4 Responses to “Bernanke Profile; US-based vs Others-based economists”

  1. Claudio Borio predicted the crisis too « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] Read the entire paper and it is like deja-vu for you.  This grudge from William White (one of the people who sw things coming) who is Borio’s colleague (discussed in Bernanke’s profile): […]

  2. Assorted Links « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] Symposium. I always thought it is exceptional as it leads to some great papers. Reading Krugman and this complaint by Bill White of BIS, conveys a different side of the symposium as […]

  3. Alan Meltzer on Fed mistakes and Issing on Jackson Hole Strategy « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] a dig at economists who simply said things to please Greenspan at Jackson Hole Conference. I had pointedto a detailed article on Bernanke where BIS economists complaint that they were ignored in same […]

  4. What do budget deficits do? « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] paper was presented at the Annual Kansas City Fed Conference (never mind the criticism in these times) which was based on the theme – Budget Deficits and Debt: Issues and Options. It has some […]

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