Economist, Chairman of the Federal Reserve (1953–Present)
Ben Bernanke is an American economist who served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve between 2006-2014.
During his tenure as Chairman, Bernanke oversaw the Fed’s response to the 2007 global financial meltdown. Bernanke asserted that the world’s economy nearly collapsed in 2007 and it was only the efforts of the Fed (cooperating with other financial agencies and foreign governments) that prevented an economic catastrophe more disastrous than the Great Depression. Under Bernanke’s guidance, the Fed lowered the funds rate from 5.25% to 0.0% within less than 1 year and engaged in a serious bout of quantitative easing by creating $1.3 trillion between November 2008 to June 2010. Barack Obama referred to Bernanke as “the epitome of calm” in his response to dealing with the global financial meltdown.
Bernanke was also a tenured economics professor at Princeton University. He proposed the Bernanke Doctrine, a series of measures that the Fed can take with monetary policy to combat deflation. He also began the discussion of the ‘Great Moderation’, the theory that the volatility of the business cycle has declined in recent decades due to structural changes in the international economy, particularly the development of a more stable economic system in LDCs, diminishing the influence of monetary and fiscal policy.
“I and others were mistaken early on in saying that the subprime crisis would be contained. The causal relationship between the housing problem and the broad financial system was very complex and difficult to predict.”
– Ben Bernanke