A prominent Harvard economist is reportedly under consideration for the post of chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).
Martin S. Fledsten '61, professor of Economics, is one of four conservative economists on a preliminary White House list of candidates to replace Murray Weidenbaum as President Reagan's chief economic advisor, according to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal.
A White House spokesman this week declined to confirm the report, as did an official in the President's personnel office "Obviously we're actively looking, but there are no names right now," said Suc Mathis of the White House press office.
Feldstein was out of town and unreachable this week, but he told the Journal that he had not yet been contacted in regard to the CEA position.
He indicated that he would consider seriously an offer from the White House even though he took himself out of the running for the CEA chairmanship shortly atter Rcagan's election in 1980. He told the incoming Administration at that time that he preferred to continue his teaching and research at Harvard and the National Buread of Economic Research, a private Cambridge based organization which he heads.
The CEA position opened up when the President announce last week that Weiden baum would leave the post to return to a professorship at Washington University in St Louis.
White House officials denied that the departure indicated a conflict over economic policy or frustration over the Administration's failure thus far to ease high interest rates and the recession.
Weidenbaum's replacement will have to address these problems as well as an ongoing debate over whether to stick to Reagan original tax-cutting plans or moderate the revenue reductions to hold the line on the federal deficit.
The other people reportedly on the White House list are Alan Greenspan, president of the New York consulting firm Townsend. Greenspan & Co: Ezra Solomon, an economics professor at Stanford University, and Marina Whitman, chief economist and vice president of the General Motors Corporation.
All three have served previously on the CEA, Greenspan as its chairman Feldstein has not served on the council.
Feldstein, one of the Economic Department's prominent macroeconomists is considered an influential advocate of decreased federal spending.
Despite Feldstein being mentioned publicly as a possible replacement for Weidenbaum, other economists who work with him at the College and the National Bureau said yesterday that they have heard nothing about an invitation from the White House.