After Two Years at the Fed, Economics Professor To Return to Harvard

Economics professor Jeremy C. Stein will resign from his position on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve in May and return to Harvard, according to a letter Stein submitted to President Barack Obama last week.

Stein was originally appointed to serve on the Board through 2018, and news outlets have speculated that Stein decided to return to Harvard to maintain his tenured professorship. According to the Faculty Handbook, professors must resign their tenured appointments after two years of not teaching at Harvard.

Stein assumed his post at the Federal Reserve in 2012 and has since worked on crafting monetary policy and assessing its impact on economic stability.

“During my time here, the economy has moved steadily back in the direction of full employment, and a number of important steps have been taken to make the financial system stronger and more resilient,” Stein wrote in the letter to Obama.

With Stein’s return to Harvard just weeks away, professors in the Economics department said they are eager to welcome Stein back to Cambridge.

“[Stein] is a fantastic lecturer and wonderful economist,” said N. Gregory Mankiw, chair of the Economics department. “The Federal Reserve’s loss is our gain.”

Economics professor Andrei Shleifer ’82 said that Stein distinguished himself at the Federal Reserve by taking controversial positions and thinking critically about crucial issues.

“He brought extremely important issues into play during his time in the Federal Reserve,” Shleifer said. “He now has an even greater understanding of inflation and price stability from different points in the government.”

Another colleague, professor John Y. Campbell, agreed that Stein has gained valuable experience while working at the Federal Reserve and predicted that the experience would serve Stein well when he returns to teach at Harvard.

“[Stein] has a keen sense of what type of research will be helpful to policymakers and will be well-equipped to teach fascinating courses for undergraduates,” Campbell said. “He’s been thinking very hard about the nature of the modern banking system and how government policy can contribute to its stability.”

Campbell said thinks Stein may focus his research on banks and their investments once he returns to Harvard. Stein delivered a speech in January at the annual American Economic Association’s meeting in Philadelphia about the connection between the ways in which banks fund themselves and the types of investments they make.

Campbell added that he has missed Stein over the past two years.

“He’s a superb colleague,” Campbell said. “He’s very collaborative and involved in a broad range of fields. Jeremy’s a key member of the finance group within the department.”

—Staff writer Michael S. Avi-Yonah can be reached at michael.aviyonah@thecrimson.com.

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