An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Ben Bernanke, Blogger and Other Economics Tales

  • Nancy DuVergne Smith

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Ben Bernanke PhD '79, a Brookings Institute, Distinguished Fellow in Residence.
Ben Bernanke PhD '79, a Brookings Institute Distinguished Fellow in Residence, delivered MIT's 2006 Commencement address.

Soon after former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke PhD ′79 took a position at the Brookings Institution, he joined the ranks of bloggers. Since MIT-educated economists hold some of the top positions in the field worldwide, he is certainly not the only economics commentator in the alumni directory. However, his musings on the so-called dismal science are backed by his influential role navigating the Great Recession as head Fed.

Here are a few highlights from recent posts in Ben Bernanke’s Blog:

Earlier this month, Bernanke discussed “Warren-Vitter and the lender of last resort.” He criticized the just-introduced Bailout Prevention Act of 2015, co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and David Vitter (R-Louisiana), that would restrict the Federal Reserve's emergency lending powers in a financial crisis. He argues that the bill would crimp the Fed’s historic role as lender-of-last resort, such as the Fed’s actions during the 2007-2009 crisis to prevent the collapse of Bear Stearns and AIG.

In “Why are interest rates so low, part 4: Term premiums, ” Bernanke traces the 10-year global trend in lower interest rates based, in part, on a key factory in bond yields—expected inflation, expectations about the future path of real short-term interest rates, and a term premium.

Bernanke’s blog draws responses from other top MIT economists, such as former Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers ′75. In “On secular stagnation: Larry Summers responds to Ben Bernanke,” Summers defines secular stagnation as “chronic excess of saving over investment” and poses related questions: “how can such a chronic excess exist in flexible markets? In particular, shouldn’t interest rates adjust to equate saving and investment at full employment?”

Other MIT voices on Economics and Business

Simon Johnson PhD ′89, MIT Sloan professor, contributes to Baseline Scenario, the New York Times Economix, and the MIT Sloan Experts Blog.

Paul Krugman PhD ′77, professor and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, publishes regularly in the New York Times on economics in his blog the Conscience of a Liberal.

Greg Mankiw PhD ′84, chair of Harvard University’s economics department, writes Greg Mankiw's Blog: Random Observations for Students of Economics.

MIT Economics department home page links to recent journal publications, opinion pieces, and media stories by faculty including “The Economics of Retirement” by Professor James Poterba

Who did we miss? In comments, please add your favorite economics blogger, especially if they have MIT ties.

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