In 2008, Christina Romer PhD ’85 did not have a professional policymaking background when she received a phone call from President-Elect Barack Obama’s staff, requesting her input on the burgeoning financial crisis. Her research primarily focused on the Great Depression and macroeconomic volatility surrounding World War II.
The Obama administration valued her input, and Romer served on the three-person team that provided the president-elect with recommendations for a stimulus package. She incorporated those recommendations into the Job Impact of American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which she co-authored with economist Jared Bernstein.
Romer, who returns to MIT for a lecture on Thursday, September 13, eventually served under President Obama as chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers from February 2009 to September 2010, when she stepped down to return to Berkeley.
From the UC-Berkeley News Center:
Months later, in passing, Romer asked then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel why the Obama team had called on her, instead of an economist with a policy background.
“You’re an expert on the Great Depression, and we really thought we might need one,” said Emanuel.
On Thursday, September 13, Romer will lead the discussion, “What’s at Stake? Economic Issues in the 2012 Presidential Election.” The event is sponsored by the Sidney-Pacific Graduate Community and part of the Presidential Distinguished Lecture Series.
A 1957 Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley, she is a 1994 recipient of Berkeley’s Distinguished Teacher Award, a co-director at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and vice president of the American Economic Association.
Romer is married to David Romer PhD ’85, a frequent research partner and fellow Berkeley faculty member. Their current research focuses on the impact of tax policy on government and general economic growth.
The lecture, which begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in Sidney-Pacific’s multipurpose room, will cover the current state of the American economy and economic policy issues facing the country in the presidential election. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP.
For more information on Romer’s work, read her guest article in a June 2009 issue of The Economist that contrasts today’s economic situation with the Great Depression.