Conference Speakers & Biographies

updated: September 21, 2011

Ben BernankeSilvia Ardagna is a Senior Economist at BofA Merrill Lynch. Her primary role is to pursue macro research on the Eurozone countries and to communicate research's results and ideas to the various business lines, focusing primarily on the fixed income and equity franchises. Her research work covers a variety of issues in macroeconomics, including a very topical one on the effects of fiscal austerity measures on economic activity, interest rates and equity markets. She has published in major academic journals and her work on budget consolidations has recently received attention from policy-makers and the media. She has been a consultant for the European Central Bank Fiscal Policy Division and a visiting fellow at the International Monetary Fund Fiscal Affairs Division. She joined the Developed European team based in London in May 2010 from Harvard University where she was an associate professor at the department of Economics for the past 6 years. She obtained her BA and Master degree in Economics from Bocconi University and her Ph.D. from Boston College.

Ben Bernanke The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke was sworn in on February 3, 2010 for his second term as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He also serves as Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the System's principal monetary policymaking body. Prior to his current position, from June 2005 to January 2006 Bernanke was Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Bernanke’s earlier service in the Federal Reserve System was as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 2002 to 2005; as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia (1987–1989), Boston (1989–1990), and New York (1990–1991 and 1994–1996); and as a member of the Academic Advisory Panel at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (1990–2002). Before joining the Board of Governors, Bernanke had been a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University since 1985. From 1994 to 1996, Bernanke was the Class of 1926 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs; and from 1996 to 2002 he was the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and chair of the Princeton economics department. Previously, Bernanke had been at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, first as an assistant professor of economics (1979–1983) and then as an associate professor of economics (1983–1985). He was a visiting professor of economics at New York University in 1993 and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989–1990. Bernanke is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as the Director of the Monetary Economics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and as a member of the NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee. Bernanke received a B.A. in economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Anat Bracha Anat Bracha Anat Bracha is an economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, as part of the Research Center for Behavioral Economics. In her research she incorporates psychological motives into standard economic models of decisionmaking under risk, and examines motives such as image motivation and status in prosocial behavior. Her work has been published in the American Economic Review and the Journal of Public Economics. Bracha received her Ph.D. in economics from Yale, and prior to joining the Fed in 2009 she was an assistant professor at Tel Aviv University and a post-doc associate at MIT.
Mary Burke Mary Burke joined the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston as an economist in September, 2005. Prior to joining the Bank she served as an assistant professor of economics at Florida State University and as a visiting professor of economics at Grinnell College. Burke’s research concerns the impact of social influences on individual choices and market outcomes. She has published papers explaining the emergence of social norms in contracting, the influence of prominent surgeons in the diffusion of coronary stents, and the role of social norms in the rise of obesity in the United States. Among other research projects, she is currently working on papers that aim, respectively, to explain disparities in obesity by race and gender, and to measure the influence of peers versus teachers on academic achievement. Her research has been published in several scholarly journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Monetary Economics, and Economic Inquiry. Burke holds a B.A. in mathematics from Brown University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Gary Burtless Gary Burtless holds the John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He does research on issues connected with poverty and the income distribution, public finance, aging, labor markets, social insurance, and the behavioral effects of government tax and transfer policy. Burtless is coauthor of Five Years After: The Long Term Effects of Welfare-to-Work Programs (1995), Globaphobia: Confronting Fears about Open Trade (1998), Growth with Equity: Economic Policymaking for the Next Century (1993), and Can America Afford to Grow Old? Paying for Social Security (1989). He was also editor or co-editor and contributor to Aging Societies: The Global Dimension (1998), Does Money Matter? The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement and Adult Success (1996), A Future of Lousy Jobs? The Changing Structure of U.S. Wages (1990), Work, Health and Income Among the Elderly (1987) and Retirement and Economic Behavior (1984). He served five years as co-editor of the Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs and has served as associate editor of the Journal of Human Resources. Burtless has written numerous scholarly and popular articles on labor markets, income distribution, pensions, and the economic effects of Social Security, unemployment insurance, social assistance, and taxes. Burtless graduated from Yale College in 1972 and received a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. Before coming to Brookings in 1981, he served as an economist in the policy and evaluation offices of the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1993 he was Visiting Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Bill Dickens William T. Dickens is Distinguished Professor of Economics and Social Policy at Northeastern University, Boston, and a nonresident senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution (where he was in residence from 1994 to 2007). His areas of expertise are labor markets, wage determination, unemployment, intelligence testing, and psychology and economics. Dickens is currently co-director a major international research project on wage rigidity, a collaborative effort involving The Brookings Institution, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the European Central Bank, and economists from 13 country teams. Prior to his appointment at Northeastern, Dickens was the Thomas C. Schelling Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. His previous positions include being a senior economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from July 1993 until June 1994; professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1980 until 1995; a visiting assistant professor at the Massachusett Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management; and a consultant at the World Bank. Dickens received a B.A. in social studies from Bard College and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Gauti Eggertsson Gauti B. Eggertsson joined the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in November 2004. He is a macroeconomist, with special interests in monetary policy, international finance, political economy and economic history. His current research focuses on monetary and fiscal policy at zero interest rates and economic crisis, in particular the Great Depression in the United States, the Great Recession in Japan, and the current economic crisis. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and a BS from the University of Iceland. Previously he has taught at Princeton University and Yale University, and worked as an economist at the International Monetary Fund.
Antonio Fatas Antonio Fatás is the Portuguese Council Chaired Professor of Economics at INSEAD, a Research Fellow in Residence at the Center for Business and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business (Georgetown University, Washington DC) and a Research Fellow at the CEPR (London). He was the Dean of the MBA programme at INSEAD from September 2004 to August 2008. He received a Masters and Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. He has worked as an external consultant for the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve, the OECD, and the UK government. His research covers areas such as the macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy, the connections between business cycles and growth and the effects of institutions on macroeconomic policy and has been published in academic journals such as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Economic Growth and Journal of Money, Banking and Credit.
Martin Feldstein Martin Feldstein is the George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He served as President and CEO of the NBER from 1977-82 and 1984-2008. He continues as a Research Associate of the NBER. From 1982 through 1984, Martin Feldstein was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and President Reagan's chief economic adviser. He served as President of the American Economic Association in 2004. In 2006, President Bush appointed him to be a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. In 2009, President Obama appointed him to be a member of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Dr. Feldstein is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Econometric Society and a Fellow of the National Association of Business Economics. He is a Trustee of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Group of 30, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council of Academic Advisors of the American Enterprise Institute. Dr. Feldstein has received honorary doctorates from several universities and is an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. In 1977, he received the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, a prize awarded every two years to the economist under the age of 40 who is judged to have made the greatest contribution to economic science. Martin Feldstein is a graduate of Harvard College and Oxford University.
Jeff Fuhrer Jeff Fuhrer is Executive Vice President and Senior Policy Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and is responsible for the Bank’s regional and community outreach functions. He is an associate economist of the Federal Open Market Committee, and regularly attends this key U.S. policymaking meeting with the Bank’s president. In June 1992 he joined the Bank’s research department as an assistant vice president and economist, and from 1995–2001 headed its Open Economy Macro/International section. In 2000 Fuhrer was named senior vice president and monetary policy advisor, in 2001 he became director of research, and in 2006 he was named executive vice president. Fuhrer began his career at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, first as a research assistant, and then in 1985 returned as a senior economist after earning his doctorate. He has been active in economic research for more than two decades, and has served as an associate editor for the American Economic Review. Fuhrer has published numerous scholarly papers on the interactions among monetary policy, inflation, consumer spending, and asset prices. He has been married for 30 years and has three grown children. Fuhrer earned an A.B. in economics with highest honors from Princeton University, and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Bart HobijnBart Hobijn joined the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in September 2008. He is a Senior Research Advisor in the Economic Research Department. In addition, he teaches as a part-time full professor at the VU University Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Mr. Hobijn is an applied macroeconomist, whose special interests are technological progress and economic growth, price measurement, and labor market dynamics. Prior to joining the San Francisco Fed, Mr. Hobijn was a Research Officer in the Research and Statistics Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He completed his Ph.D. at New York University and his MS in econometrics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.
Julian Jamison Julian Jamison is a senior economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, as part of the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decisionmaking. His research focuses on how individuals choose their actions, especially with regard to risk tolerance, time preferences, and demand for information. He pursues these studies using lab experiments, field experiments, and theoretical analyses. He received degrees in mathematics from Caltech and a PhD in economics from MIT. Prior to joining the Boston Fed in 2009, he was affiliated with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley, and the Department of Psychology at the University of Southern California. He is also a visiting faculty member at Yale, a fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard's Kennedy School, and a research affiliate at Innovations for Poverty Action. He has consulted for multiple private and public organizations, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA-Ames, the World Bank, and the National Institutes of Health.
Simon Johnson Simon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., a co-founder of (a much cited website on the global economy), a member of the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Economic Advisers, and a member of the FDIC’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee. Prof. Johnson is a weekly contributor to's Economix, is a regular Bloomberg columnist, has a monthly article with Project Syndicate that runs in publications around the world, and has published high impact opinion pieces recently in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New Republic, BusinessWeek, and The Financial Times, among other places. In January 2010, he joined The Huffington Post as contributing business editor. Professor Johnson is the co-author, with James Kwak, of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and The Next Financial Meltdown, a bestselling assessment of the dangers now posed by the US financial sector (published by Pantheon in March 2010). In his roles as a professor, research fellow and author, Professor Johnson's speaking engagements include paid appearances before various business groups, including financial institutions and other companies, as well before other groups that may have a political agenda. He is not on the board of any company, does not currently serve as a consultant to anyone, and does not work as an expert witness or conduct sponsored research. His investment portfolio comprises cash and broadly diversified mutual funds; he does not trade stocks, bonds, derivatives or other financial products actively. From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, Prof. Johnson was the International Monetary Fund's Economic Counsellor (chief economist) and Director of its Research Department. He is a co-director of the NBER Africa Project, and works with non-profits and think tanks around the world.

Donald Kohn Donald Kohn is a Senior Fellow of Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is a 40-year veteran of the Federal Reserve System and served as vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2010. He was recently appointed by the government of the United Kingdom and the Bank of England to serve on its interim Financial Policy Committee. Kohn focuses on issues of monetary policy, financial regulation and macroeconomics.
Deborah Lucas Deborah J. Lucas is a Professor of Finance at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Previous appointments include Assistant Director at the Congressional Budget Office from 2009-2011; Donald C. Clark Professor of Finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management from 1996-2009; Chief Economist at the Congressional Budget Office from 2000 to 2001; senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers from 1992 to 1993; and member of the Social Security Technical Advisory Panels of 1999 - 2000 and 2006 – 2007. Her recent research has focused on the problem of measuring and accounting for the risk of federal financial obligations; she edited an NBER book on these issues, Measuring and Managing Federal Financial Risk. Her published papers cover a wide range of topics including the effect of idiosyncratic risk on asset prices and portfolio choice, dynamic models of corporate finance, financial institutions, and monetary economics. She was a co-editor of the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking and has been an associate editor of a number of finance and economics journals. She is the co-organizer of the group Capital Markets and the Economy at the NBER, and a past director of the American Finance Association. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a research associate of the NBER, and has served as a director on several corporate and non-profit boards. She received her B.A., M.A., and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.
Illian Mihov Ilian Mihov is a Professor of Economics and the Novartis Chaired Professor of Management and Environment at INSEAD. He is currently the Deputy Dean for Faculty and Research. He holds a PhD degree from Princeton University. His research is in the fields of monetary and fiscal policies, economic growth and political economy. He has given interviews for BBC, CNBC Asia, Agence France Press, Dow Jones Newswire and others. He has participated as a lecturer or panelist at events organized by the World Economic Forum, KPMG, Hewlett Packard, Bloomberg, PwC, Swiss Re, Alstom, Deutsche Bank, Pictet, and other companies. Ilian is also a research fellow at the Center for Economic Policy Research (London, UK). He was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Banque de France's Research Foundation (2002-2010) and of the Advisory Board of the Bulgarian National Bank. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Fiscal Crises 2010/2011.
Stefan Nagel Stefan Nagel's research focuses on asset pricing, behavioral finance, and financial econometrics. His current research examines the role that different investor groups play in the formation and disappearance of asset price bubbles. In other work he studies investors’ investment decisions to uncover the determinants of investors’ risk aversion. He also works on the development and application of new methods for statistical testing of asset pricing models. Professor Nagel has won various awards and fellowships, among them the Smith-Breeden Prize of the American Finance Association for the best paper in the Journal of Finance in 2004 and the Fama/DFA prize for the best asset pricing paper in the Journal of Financial Economics in 2006. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, an associate editor of the Journal of Finance and the Review of Finance, and he has served as reviewer for the top finance and economics journals.  At Stanford, Professor Nagel teaches an MBA elective course on Financial Markets and Empirical Finance in the PhD program. He received his PhD from the London Business School, and he had been a visiting doctoral student at MIT. Before joining the Stanford GSB, he also spent a year as a lecturer at Harvard University.
David Papell David H. Papell is the Joel W. Sailors Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Houston, where he has taught since 1984. His fields of expertise are macroeconomics, international economics, and applied time series econometrics. He previously taught at the University of Florida, and has held visiting positions at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, and the International Monetary Fund. He received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has published over 50 articles in refereed journals and served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, and Empirical Economics.
Jeremy Piger Jeremy Piger is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Oregon, where he has taught since 2006. Piger’s research focuses on modeling the dynamics of business cycles and inflation, documenting structural change in the macroeconomy, and the econometrics of nonlinear time-series models. His research is widely published in leading professional journals including the Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Monetary Economics, and the Journal of Econometrics. Prior to joining the faculty at Oregon, Piger spent five years as Economist and Senior Economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and one year as Economist in the International Finance Division at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking. Piger holds a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Washington.
Ruxandra Prodan Ruxandra Prodan joined the Department of Economics at the University of Houston from the University of Alabama, where she was an assistant professor of Economics. She holds a PhD degree in Economics from the University of Houston. Professor Prodan’s research focuses on international finance, time series econometrics and macroeconomics. Her research has been published in journals such as Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Journal of Business and Economics Statistics, Economic Inquiry, Defense Economics and a book chapter in the Frontiers of Economics and Globalization. Dr. Prodan has presented her research at leading institutions internationally and within the U.S., including the International Forecasting Symposium (2008), International Economics and Finance Society (2005), European Economic Association Meetings (2004) and Econometrics Society Meetings (2004)
Eric Rosengren Eric S. Rosengren is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Previously, Rosengren held senior positions at the Bank in both the research department and the division of bank supervision, regulation, and credit. In 1985 he joined the Bank as an economist in the research department, and was promoted to assistant vice president in 1989 and to vice president in 1991, when he also became head of the department’s banking and monetary policy section. In his work as an economist, Rosengren has focused on the link between financial problems and the real economy, and has published extensively on macroeconomics, international banking, bank supervision, and risk management. Rosengren became senior vice president and head of the department of supervision, regulation, and credit in 2000, in 2003 was given the additional title of chief discount officer, and in 2005 was named executive vice president. While in the bank supervision function, he gained significant domestic and international regulatory experience related to the Basel II Capital Accord. Rosengren earned a B.A. in economics from Colby College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
James SegelJames Segel served as Special Counsel to Congressman Barney Frank, then the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, from January 2007 through December, 2010. Jim’s role as Special Counsel was to engage in the substantive and political issues of the Committee including what later became the Dodd-Frank Bill and TARP as well as issues of insurance, municipal finance, Iran Sanctions, mutual funds, and most bank related issues. Mr. Segel also served as the liaison to the financial institutions especially in Massachusetts as well as national advocacy groups, the state and local government officials, and the Members of the Financial services Committee. Mr. Segel had previously served in the Massachusetts Legislature for three terms as a State Representative from Brookline; as executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association; as Counsel at Hale and Dorr (now Wilmer Hale); and as a partner in his own law firm: Smith, Ruddock, Segel in Boston where he is presently engaged in the practice of corporate law and strategic consulting on federal financial and housing issues. Mr. Segel is a graduate of Harvard College, Boston College Law School, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Antonio Spilimbergo Antonio Spilimbergo received his Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T. Since July 1997 he has worked at the I.M.F. His areas of interest are: international trade, development, labor economics, and macroeconomics. His main publications are: “Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the US-Mexico Border” (with G. Hanson). American Economic Review; “Democracy and Foreign Students” American Economic Review; “Real Effective Exchange Rate and the Constant Elasticity of Substitution Assumption” Journal of International Economics. (with A. Vamvakidis); “Exchange Rates and Wages in an Integrated World” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics. (with Prachi Mishra)
James Stock James Stock is the Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and member of the faculty at HKS. He received a master’s degree in statistics and a doctoral degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. His research areas are macroeconomic forecasting, monetary policy, and econometric methods for the analysis of economic time series data. His latest work includes an examination of the recent evolution of the U.S. business cycle and the impact of changes in monetary policy on that evolution. He is a coauthor of a leading introductory econometrics textbook and is a member of various professional boards, including the Academic Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Phillip SwagelPhillip L. Swagel is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and a faculty associate of the Center for Financial Policy at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. He is also a academic affiliate with the Milken Institute. Swagel was Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department from December 2006 to January 2009. In that position, he served as a member of the TARP investment committee and advised Secretary Paulson on all aspects of economic policy. He previously worked at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the International Monetary Fund, and the Federal Reserve, and taught economics at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Princeton University and a PhD in economics from Harvard University.
Robert Triest Robert K. Triest is a Vice President and Economist in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where he leads the macroeconomic applications section. Prior to joining the Boston Fed in 1995, Triest was a member of the economics faculties at the University of California, Davis and at Johns Hopkins University.  He has is also a visiting scholar at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College and an adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Triest’s research has focused on topics in labor economics and public sector economics. He is a coauthor of Job Creation, Job Destruction and International Competition (with Michael Klein and Scott Schuh), and is a coeditor of The Macroeconomics of Fiscal Policy (with Richard Kopcke and Geoffrey Tootell), and Seismic Shifts: The Economic Impact of Demographic Change (with Jane Little). Triest’s research has also been published in various professional journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, and the Review of Economics and Statistics, as well as in Boston Fed publications. Triest earned his bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin.
Susan Wachter Susan M. Wachter is the Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management and Professor of Real Estate and Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Wachter is the author of over 150 publications. A former Chairperson of the Wharton Real Estate Department, Dr. Wachter has served as President of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association and was Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at HUD, a President appointed and Senate confirmed position, from 1998 to 2001. Dr. Wachter is Co-Director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research.