An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Former US Federal Reserve chair Ben S. Bernanke PhD ’79 has been awarded a share of the 2022 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for having “significantly improved our understanding of the role of banks in the economy, particularly during financial crises,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced this week. 

Bernanke, who received his doctorate from MIT’s Department of Economics, is at least the 40th Nobel laureate to hold a degree from MIT (see the full list below). He was cited particularly for his analysis of the Great Depression of the 1930s, which revealed how bank failures can propagate a financial crisis. Bernanke later applied his scholarly experience to his work at the Federal Reserve during the economic and financial-sector crisis of 2008–2009. 

He shares the award with Douglas W. Diamond, an economics professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Philip H. Dybvig, an economics professor at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in Saint Louis. Read more about the trio’s research on the role of banks in the economy at MIT News.

Bernanke received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University. After completing his PhD at MIT, Bernanke served on the faculty at Stanford University and then Princeton University before joining the US Federal Reserve Board in 2002. He was chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 20052006 under President George W. Bush, then served as chair of the Federal Reserve Board from 20062014. 

He is currently a distinguished senior fellow with the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution, where he has served since 2014. He is also the author of the New York Times–best-selling book The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath.

  Alumni Who Have Won the Nobel Prize




Ben Bernanke PhD ’79  2022 Economic Sciences
David Julius '77 2021 Physiology or Medicine 
Andrea Ghez '87 2020 Physics
Esther Duflo PhD '71 2019 Economic Sciences 
William D. Nordhaus PhD '71 2018 Economic Sciences 
Michael Rosbash PhD '71 2017 Physiology or Medicine 
Rainer Weiss '55 PhD '62 2017 Physics
Paul Modrich ’68 2015 Chemistry
Jean Tirole PhD ’81 2014 Economic Sciences
Robert Shiller SM ’68 PhD ’72 2013 Economic Sciences
Adam G. Riess ’92 2011 Physics
Oliver E. Williamson ’55 2009 Economic Sciences
Paul Krugman PhD ’77 2008 Economic Sciences
Wei M. Hao SM ’12 2007 Peace
Andrew Fire PhD ’83 2006 Physiology or Medicine 
George Smoot ’66 PhD ’71 2006 Physics
Robert Aumann SM ’52 2005 Economic Sciences
Robert Horvitz ’68 2002 Physiology or Medicine 
George Akerlof PhD ’66 2001 Economic Sciences
Kofi Annan SM ’72 2001 Peace
Eric Cornell PhD ’90 2001 Physics
Leland Hartwell PhD ’64 2001 Physiology or Medicine 
Joseph Stiglitz PhD ’66 2001 Economic Sciences
Carl Wieman ’73 2001 Physics
Robert Mundell PhD ’56 1999 Economic Sciences
Robert Laughlin PhD ’79 1998 Physics
Robert Merton PhD ’70 1997 Economic Sciences
William Phillips ’76 1997 Physics
Elias Corey, Jr. ’48 PhD ’51 1990 Chemistry
Henry Kendall PhD ’55 1990 Physics
Sidney Altman ’60 1989 Chemistry
Charles J. Pedersen SM ’27 1987 Chemistry
Lawrence Klein PhD ’44 1980 Economic Sciences
Burton Richter ’52 PhD ’56 1976 Physics
John Schrieffer ’53 1972 Physics
Murray Gell-Man PhD ’51 1969 Physics
Robert Mulliken ’17 1966 Chemistry
Richard Feynman ’39 1965 Physics
Robert Burns Woodward ’36 PhD ’37 1965 Chemistry
William Shockley PhD ’36 1956 Physics


Photo: US Federal Reserve