Ben Bernanke Biography, Age, Family, Education, Relationship, Career,

Ben Bernanke Biography

Ben Bernanke is an American economist at the Brookings Institution who served two terms as chair of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, from 2006 to 2014. 

During his tenure as chair, Bernanke oversaw the Federal Reserve’s response to the late-2000s financial crisis. Before becoming Federal Reserve chair, Bernanke was a tenured professor at Princeton University and chaired the department of economics therefrom 1996 to September 2002, when he went on public service leave.

Ben Bernanke Age

Bernanke is 65 years old as of 2018. He was born on December 13, 1953, in August, Georgia, U.S.

Ben Bernanke Family

Bernanke was raised on East Jefferson Street in Dillon, South Carolina. His father Philip was a pharmacist and part-time theater manager. His mother Edna was an elementary school teacher.

He has two younger siblings. His brother, Seth, is a lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina. His Sister, Sharon, is a long time administrator at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Ben Bernanke Education

Bernanke was educated at East Elementary, J.V Martin Junior High, and Dillon High School, where he was class valedictorian and played saxophone in the marching band.

Since Dillon High School did not offer calculus at the time, Bernanke taught it to himself.

Bernanke attended Harvard University in 1971, where he lived in Winthrop House, as did the future CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, and graduated with an A.B degree in Economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979 after completing and defending his dissertation, Long-Term Commitments.

Ben Bernanke Relationship

Bernanke met his wife, Anna, a schoolteacher, on a blind date. They have two children.  When Bernanke left Stanford to accept a position at Princeton, he and his family moved to Montgomery Township, New Jersey in 1985, where Bernanke served for six years as a member of the board of education of Montgomery Township School District.

Ben Bernanke Career

Bernanke taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business from 1979 until 1985, was a visiting professor at New York University and went on to become a tenured professor at Princeton University in the Department of Economics. He chaired that department from 1996 until September 2002, when he went on public service leave. He resigned his position at Princeton July 1, 2005.

Bernanke served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 2002 to 2005. In one of his first speeches as a Governor, entitled “Deflation: Making Sure It Doesn’t Happen Here”, he outlined what has been referred to as the Bernanke Doctrine.

As a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System on February 20, 2004, Bernanke gave a speech in which he postulated that we are in a new era called the Great Moderation, where modern macroeconomic policy has decreased the volatility of the business cycle to the point that it should no longer be a central issue in economics.

In June 2005, Bernanke was named the chairman of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers and resigned as Fed Governor. The appointment was largely viewed as a test run to ascertain if Bernanke could be Bush’s pick to succeed Greenspan as Fed chairman the next year. He held the post until January 2006.

On February 1, 2006, Bernanke began a fourteen-year term as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and a four-year term as chairman (after having been nominated by President Bush in late 2005).

By virtue of the chairmanship, he sat on the Financial Stability Oversight Board that oversees the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He also served as chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the System’s principal monetary policymaking body.

His first months as chairman of the Federal Reserve System were marked by difficulties communicating with the media. An advocate of more transparent Fed policy and clearer statements than Greenspan had made, he had to back away from his initial idea of stating clearer inflation goals as such statements tended to affect the stock market.

As the “Great Recession” deepened, Bernanke oversaw some unorthodox measures. Under his guidance, the Fed lowered its fund’s interest rate from 5.25% to 0.0% within less than a year. When this was considered insufficient to abate the liquidity crisis, the Fed initiated Quantitative Easing, creating $1.3 trillion from November 2008 to June 2010 and using the created money to buy financial assets from banks and from the government.

On August 25, 2009, President Obama announced he would nominate Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.  In a short statement on Martha’s Vineyard, with Bernanke standing at his side, Obama said Bernanke’s background, temperament, courage, and creativity helped to prevent another Great Depression in 2008. When Senate Banking Committee hearings on his nomination began on December 3, 2009, several senators from both parties indicated they would not support a second term.

Bernanke has given several lectures at the London School of Economics on monetary theory and policy. He has written two textbooks: an intermediate-level macroeconomics textbook coauthored with Andrew Abel (and also Dean Croushore in later editions) and an introductory textbook, covering both microeconomics and macroeconomics, coauthored with Robert H. Frank. Bernanke was the Director of the Monetary Economics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the editor of the American Economic Review. He is among the 50 most published economists in the world according to IDEAS/RePEc.

Bernanke is particularly interested in the economic and political causes of the Great Depression, on which he has published numerous academic journal articles. Before Bernanke’s work, the dominant monetarist theory of the Great Depression was Milton Friedman’s view that it had been largely caused by the Federal Reserve’s having reduced the money supply and has on several occasions argued that one of the biggest mistakes made during the period was to raise interest rates too early. In a speech on Milton Friedman’s ninetieth birthday (November 8, 2002), Bernanke said:

“Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna [Schwartz, Friedman’s coauthor]: Regarding the Great Depression, you’re right. We did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”

Bernanke has cited Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz in his decision to lower interest rates to zero.

n a speech at the American Economics Association conference in January 2014, Bernanke reflected on his tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve. He expressed his hope that economic growth was building momentum and stated that he was confident that the central bank would be able to withdraw its support smoothly.

In an October 2014 speech, Bernanke disclosed that he was unsuccessful in efforts to refinance his home. He suggested that lenders “may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions”.

Since February 2014, Bernanke has been employed as a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution.

On April 16, 2015, it was announced publicly that Bernanke will work with Citadel, the $25 billion hedge fund founded by billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin, as a senior adviser. In the same month, it was revealed that Bernanke would also join Pimco as a senior advisor.

In his 2015 book, The Courage to Act, Bernanke revealed that he was no longer a Republican, having “lost patience with Republicans’ susceptibility to the know-nothing-ism of the far right. … I view myself now as a moderate independent, and I think that’s where I’ll stay.”

Ben Bernanke Net Worth

Bernanke is the current Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the central bank of the United States and he has an estimated net worth of $2 million with an annual salary of $180 thousand.

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Ben Bernanke Quotes

“If we acted, nobody would thank us. But if we did not act, who would? Making politically unpopular decisions for the long-run benefit of the country is the reason the Fed exists as a politically independent central bank. It was created for precisely this purpose: to do what must be done—what others cannot or will not do.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“A meritocracy is a system in which the people who are the luckiest in their health and genetic endowment; luckiest in terms of family support, encouragement, and, probably, income; luckiest in their educational and career opportunities; and luckiest in so many other ways difficult to enumerate — these are the folks who reap the largest rewards. The only way for even a putative meritocracy to hope to pass ethical muster, to be considered fair, is if those who are the luckiest in all of those respects also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world, and to share their luck with others.”
― Ben Bernanke
tags: giving-back, luck, meritocracy, rewards, society
“I had become a Great Depression buff in the way that other people are Civil War buffs, reading not only about the economics of the period but about the politics, sociology, and history as well.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“If you’ve got a squirt gun in your pocket, you may have to take it out. If you’ve got a bazooka, and people know you’ve got it, you may not have to take it out,” he said. Sometimes market fears can be self-fulfilling, and a strong demonstration can avoid the worst outcomes. I was reminded of the military doctrine of “overwhelming force” as the way to prompt quick surrender and minimize casualties.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“You have a neighbor, who smokes in bed. . . . Suppose he sets fire to his house,” I would say later in an interview. “You might say to yourself . . . ‘I’m not gonna call the fire department. Let his house burn down. It’s fine with me.’ But then, of course, what if your house is made of wood? And it’s right next door to his house? What if the whole town is made of wood?”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“They believed that anyone who worked hard to feed his or her family, no matter how humble the work, deserved respect.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“Economists are criticized for not being able to predict the future, but, because the data are incomplete and subject to revision, we cannot even be sure what happened in the recent past. Noisy data make effective policymaking all the more difficult.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“Meanwhile, journalists and traders speculated feverishly on when “tapering” would begin. That was the term the press had affixed to a strategy that involved gradual reductions in our securities purchases rather than a sudden stop. Though I had used it, I didn’t particularly like it, and I tried to encourage others on the FOMC to use alternatives. “Tapering” implied that, once we had begun slowing purchases, we would reduce them along a predetermined glide path.
Instead, I wanted to convey that the pace of purchases could vary, depending on the speed of progress toward our labor market objective and on whether the risks of the purchases were starting to outweigh the benefits. As usual, though, I had little influence on the terminology the press chose to use.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“They also reminded me of a story Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher included in one of his speeches about the early nineteenth-century French diplomat Talleyrand and his archrival, Prince Metternich of Austria. When Talleyrand died, Metternich was reported to have said, “I wonder what he meant by that?” It seemed that no matter what I said or how plainly I said it, the markets tried to divine some hidden meaning.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“Life is unpredictable,” I told them, thinking of both my own career path and the economy and financial system’s roller-coaster ride over the past seven and a half years. I also gave them a working definition of my chosen profession: “Economics is a highly sophisticated field of thought that is superb at explaining to policymakers precisely why the choices they made in the past were wrong. About the future, not so much.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
“In retrospect, I think our view of market expectations was too dependent on our survey of securities dealers. Futures markets gave us a reliable read of where markets thought the federal funds rate was going—but not for our securities purchases. For that, economists at the New York Fed asked their counterparts at the securities firms, who paid careful attention to every nuance of Fed policymakers’ public statements.
In effect, our Ph.D. economists surveyed their Ph.D. economists. It was a little like looking in a mirror. It didn’t tell us what the rank-and-file traders were thinking. Many traders, apparently, didn’t pay much attention to their economists and we’re betting our purchases would continue more or less indefinitely. Some called it “QE-eternity” or “QE-infinity.” Their assumption was unreasonable and entirely inconsistent with what we had been saying. Nevertheless, some investors had evidently established market positions based on it.
Now, like Metternich, they looked at our statements about securities purchases and asked, “What do they mean by that?” Their conclusion, despite the plain meaning of what I said at the press conference, was that we were signaling an earlier increase in our federal funds’ rate target. They sold their Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities, driving up long-term interest rates.”
― Ben S. Bernanke, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath

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