Bernanke, Ben Shalom (bĕrnăngkˈē) [key], 1953–, U.S. economist and government official, b. Augusta, Ga.; grad. Harvard (B.A., 1975), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D., 1979). He was a professor of economics at Stanford Univ. (1979–85) and Princeton (1985–2002) before serving (2003–5) as a member of the Federal Reserve's board of governors. An authority on monetary policy and the Great Depression and in general a supporter of Alan Greenspan's Federal Reserve policies, he became (2005) chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. In 2006 Bernanke succeeded Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Regarded as favoring consistency and clarity in central banking, he also came to be seen as innovative and flexible in his approach to U.S. financial problems and the recession resulting from the mortgage and credit crises that began in 2007. At the same time, however, he failed to anticipate the collapse of the housing and credit bubbles that led to the crisis. Under Bernanke the Federal Reserve has greatly expanded its lending to financial institutions (and enormously broadened the range of such institutions it lends to) in order to preserve liquidity in the international financial system and facilitate lending by financial institutions and generally moved aggressively to support the financial system and revive the economy. Bernanke was reappointed as chairman by President Obama in 2010.
See study by D. Wessel (2009).