Alan Blinder

Alan Blinder

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Alan Stuart Blinder is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

. He serves at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 as the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs in the Economics Department, Vice Chairman of The Observatory Group, and as co-director of Princeton’s Center for Economic Policy Studies, which he founded in 1990. Since 1978 he has been a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research
National Bureau of Economic Research
The National Bureau of Economic Research is an American private nonprofit research organization "committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community." The NBER is well known for providing start and end...

. He is among the most influential economists in the world according to IDEAS/RePEc
Řepeč
Řepeč is a village and municipality in Tábor District in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic.The municipality covers an area of , and has a population of 267 ....

, and is "considered one of the great economic minds of his generation."

Blinder served on President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

's Council of Economic Advisors (Jan 1993 - June 1994), and as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from June 1994 to January 1996. Blinder's recent academic work has focused particularly on monetary policy and central banking, as well as the "offshoring" of jobs, and his writing for lay audiences has been published primarily but not exclusively in New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

Early life


Blinder was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Syosset High School
Syosset High School
Syosset High School, located on Southwoods Road in Syosset, New York, USA is the only high school for residents of the Syosset Central School District.- Overview :The school was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 1992–1993...

 in Syosset, New York
Syosset, New York
Syosset is a hamlet in Nassau County, New York, in the northeastern section of Town of Oyster Bay near the North Shore of Long Island. The population was 18,829 at the 2010 census...

. Blinder received his undergraduate degree in economics from Princeton, graduating summa cum laude in 1967. He subsequently gained an MSc in economics from the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 (1968) and then received his doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 in 1971.

Academic career


Blinder has been at Princeton since 1971, chairing the economics department from 1988 to 1990. He is a past President of the Eastern Economic Association and Vice President of the American Economic Association
American Economic Association
The American Economic Association, or AEA, is a learned society in the field of economics, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. It publishes one of the most prestigious academic journals in economics: the American Economic Review...

. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 (since 1991), and a member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

 (since 1997). Blinder's textbook Economics: Principles and Policy, co-written with William Baumol
William Baumol
William Jack Baumol is an American economist. He is a professor of economics at New York University and is also affiliated with Princeton University. Baumol has written extensively about labor market and other economic factors that affect the economy. He also made valuable contributions to the...

, was first published in 1979, and in 2009 was printed in its eleventh edition.

In 2009 Blinder was inducted into the American Academy of Political and Social Science
American Academy of Political and Social Science
The American Academy of Political and Social Science was founded in 1889 to promote progress in the social sciences. Sparked by Professor Edmund J. James and drawing from members of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, and Bryn Mawr College, the Academy sought to...

, "for his distinguished scholarship on fiscal policy, monetary policy and the distribution of income, and for consistently bringing that knowledge to bear on the public arena." He is a strong proponent of free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

.

Political career


Blinder has served as the Deputy Assistant Director of the Congressional Budget Office
Congressional Budget Office
The Congressional Budget Office is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides economic data to Congress....

 (1975), on President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

's Council of Economic Advisors (Jan 1993 - June 1994), and as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from June 1994 to January 1996. As Vice Chairman he cautioned against raising interest rates too quickly to slow inflation, because of the lags in earlier rises feeding through into the economy. He also warned against ignoring the short term costs in terms of unemployment that inflation-fighting could cause.

Many have argued that Blinder's stint at the Fed was cut short because of his tendency to challenge chairman Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan is an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC...

:


[Economist] Rob Johnson, who watched the Blinder ordeal, says Blinder made the mistake of behaving as if the Fed was a place where competing ideas and assumptions were debated. "Sociologically, what was happening was the Fed staff was really afraid of Blinder. At some level, as an applied empirical economist, Alan Blinder is really brilliant," says Johnson.

In closed-door meetings, Blinder did what so few do: challenged assumptions. "The Fed staff would come out and their ritual is: Greenspan has kind of told them what to conclude and they produce studies in which they conclude this. And Blinder treated it more like an open academic debate when he first got there and he'd come out and say, 'Well, that's not true. If you change this assumption and change this assumption and use this kind of assumption you get a completely different result.' And it just created a stir inside--it was sort of like the whole pipeline of Greenspan-arriving-at-decisions was
disrupted."

It didn't sit well with Greenspan or his staff. "A lot of senior staff...were pissed off about Blinder -- how should we say? -- not playing by the customs that they were accustomed to," Johnson says.


He was an adviser to Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 and John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

 during their respective presidential campaigns in 2000
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

 and 2004
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

.

"Cash for Clunkers"



Blinder was an early advocate of a "Cash for Clunkers" program, in which the government buys some of the oldest, most-polluting vehicles and scraps them. In July 2008, he wrote an article in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

advocating such a program, which was implemented by the Obama administration during the summer of 2009. Blinder asserted it could stimulate the economy, benefit the environment, and reduce income inequality. The program was both praised for exceeding expectations, and criticized for economic and environmental reasons.

Selected works

  • (2009),“How Many U.S. Jobs Might Be Offshorable,” World Economics, April–June, 2009, 10(2): 41-78.
  • (2009),“Making Monetary Policy by Committee,” International Finance, Summer 2009, 12(2): 171-194.
  • (2008), “Do Monetary Policy Committees Need Leaders? A Report on an Experiment,” American Economic Review (Papers and Proceedings), May 2008, pp. 224–229.
  • (2006), "Offshoring: The Next Industrial Revolution?" Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006, pp. 113–128. (A longer version with footnotes and references is: “Fear of Offshoring,” CEPS Working Paper No. 119, December 2005).
  • (2006), “The Case Against the Case Against Discretionary Fiscal Policy,” in R. Kopcke, G. Tootell, and R. Triest (eds.), The Macroeconomics of Fiscal Policy, MIT Press, 2006, forthcoming, pp. 25–61.
  • (2004), The Quiet Revolution, Yale University Press
  • (2001, with William Baumol
    William Baumol
    William Jack Baumol is an American economist. He is a professor of economics at New York University and is also affiliated with Princeton University. Baumol has written extensively about labor market and other economic factors that affect the economy. He also made valuable contributions to the...

     and Edward N. Wolff), Downsizing in America: Reality, Causes, And Consequences, Russell Sage Foundation
  • (2001, with Janet Yellen
    Janet Yellen
    Janet Louise Yellen is an American economist and professor, who is currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System...

    ), The Fabulous Decade: Macroeconomic Lessons from the 1990s, New York: The Century Foundation Press
  • (1998, with E. Canetti, D. Lebow, and J. Rudd), Asking About Prices: A New Approach to Understanding Price Stickiness, Russell Sage Foundation
  • (1998), Central Banking in Theory and Practice, MIT Press
  • (1991), Growing Together: An Alternative Economic Strategy for the 1990s, Whittle
  • (1990, ed), Paying for Productivity, Brookings
  • (1989), Macroeconomics Under Debate, Harvester-Wheatsheaf
  • (1989), Inventory Theory and Consumer Behavior, Harvester-Wheatsheaf
  • (1987), Hard Heads, Soft Hearts: Tough‑Minded Economics for a Just Society, Addison-Wesley
  • (1983), Economic Opinion, Private Pensions and Public Pensions: Theory and Fact. The University of Michigan
  • (1979, with William Baumol
    William Baumol
    William Jack Baumol is an American economist. He is a professor of economics at New York University and is also affiliated with Princeton University. Baumol has written extensively about labor market and other economic factors that affect the economy. He also made valuable contributions to the...

    ), Economics: Principles and Policy - textbook
  • (1979), Economic Policy and the Great Stagflation. New York: Academic Press
  • (co-edited with Philip Friedman, 1977), Natural Resources, Uncertainty and General Equilibrium Systems: Essays in Memory of Rafael Lusky, New York: Academic Press
  • (1974), Toward an Economic Theory of Income Distribution, MIT Press

External links