October is the month in which Nobel prizes are doled out, and the names being thrown out as possible winners for economics include Phillippe Aghion of Harvard University, Peter Howitt of Brown University, William Baumol and Paul Romer of New York University, Jean Tirole of Toulouse School of Economics and Robert Barro of Harvard.
Wall Street Journal reporter Jon Hilsenrath
has another idea. "Purely in the name of being speculative and provocative, here’s another name that warrants some debate: [former Federal Reserve Chairman] Ben Bernanke," he writes.
"Mr. Bernanke would get attention from the Swedes not for his work as Fed chairman from 2006 to 2014, but for an academic career that pre-dated his stint in government and mapped out links between the financial system and the economy, a subject of great importance today."
Bernanke co-wrote important papers in the 1990s that cited the havoc wrought on the economy by shocks to the financial system, Hilsenrath notes.
And during the 1980s, he authored studies about the Great Depression illustrating how the connections between the financial system and economy collapse during a crisis.
"Having led the Fed through a crisis, Mr. Bernanke will forever be a lightning rod for the central bank’s role in the great downturn of 2008. Supporters believe he steered the economy from disaster; critics say the Fed caused the crisis with low interest rates and then took reckless chances after it had happened," he explains.
"Regardless of your view on this question, he has an academic legacy to stand on."
When it comes to current Fed Policy, Harvard economist Martin Feldstein says inflation is headed higher, and that likely means the central bank will raise interest rates more quickly than Fed officials have recently indicated.
"I would not be surprised by a continued rise in the inflation rate in 2015," he writes in an article for Project Syndicate
. "In that case, the Fed is likely to raise the federal funds rate more rapidly and to a higher year-end  level than its recent statements imply."
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