Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ben Bernanke Headed to Think Tank Land?

Is one of Washington's premier think tanks about to land one of the most powerful people in the world?

Speculation is hot that Ben Bernanke is headed to think tank land once he steps down from the Federal Reserve at the end of this month.  More specifically, Brookings could be his think tank of choice.

Here is more from The Wall Street Journal:
The stars could be aligning for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to join the Brookings Institution after his term ends at the end of the month.
Mr. Bernanke was the featured speaker at an event sponsored by Brookings last week, his last public appearance as Fed chairman. His friend and former deputy, Donald Kohn, has been a senior fellow at Brookings since leaving the Fed in 2010. And Brookings has recently established a new center on monetary and fiscal policy, called the Hutchins Center, with $10 million in funding from Glenn Hutchins, a founder of Silver Lake Partners, an investment fund. Mr. Hutchins also is a director on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Mr. Bernanke plans to write books and give speeches after he leaves the Fed, and has said he plans to remain in Washington.
Brookings, a Washington think tank, has been keen to land Mr. Bernanke and has had talks with him about it, said people familiar with the discussions. If he does plan to make a move there, he likely wouldn’t announce it until after his business at the Fed is finished. The Fed has a policy meeting Jan. 28-29 and his term ends Jan. 31.

But Think Tank Watch is not as sure about Mr. Bernanke going to Brookings as it was about Brookings being the #1 think tank (again, and again, and again) in the just-released University of Pennsylvania 2013 Global Go-To Think Tank Index.

In that report, released today, Brookings was rated as the world's best think tank, the US's top think tank, the top domestic economic policy think tank, the top education policy think tank, the top foreign policy and international affairs think tank, the top international development think tank, the top international economic policy think tank, the top social policy think tank, the best managed think tank, the think tank with the best use of social networks, the think tank with the best external relations/public engagement program, and the think tank with the most significant impact on public policy, to name a few.

Think Tank Watch wrote about Bernanke joining a think tank the spring of last year in this post.  Think Tank Watch noted at that time that former Federal Reserve officials are scattered at various think tanks, such as Brookings, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE).  More recently, as we have noted, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has been on a central banker "binge."

Here is more on Ben Bernanke's speech at Brookings  Here is more on why Brookings is looking pretty darn good to Ben Bernanke.

In other related Federal Reserve/think tank revolving door news, President Barack Obama recently tapped Stanley Fischer, former governor of Israel's central bank, to serve as the Fed's Vice Chairman.  He also tapped Lael Brainard, a top Treasury Department official, to serve as a Fed governor.

In September 2013, Stanley Fischer became a Distinguished Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Lael Brainard is a former Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Vice President and Director of the Global Economy and Development program (2001-2009).  Her husband, Kurt Campbell, is also a prolific think tanker.