KSG Professor Nominated to CEA

Prominent Kennedy School of Government (KSG) professor Robert Z. Lawrence has been nominated to the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) by President Clinton, and is currently awaiting confirmation by the Senate.

Lawrence, who is Williams Professor of International Trade and Investment at KSG, is currently on leave from the University and working in Washington, D.C.

In what he called "an amusing wrinkle," Lawrence's CEA predecessor, Jeffrey A. Frankel, resigned from the CEA in March--the month when Lawrence was nominated to the council--and has just accepted a professorship in international finance at the Kennedy School.

Frankel said that the coincidence extends even farther than the pair's trade of posts: Frankel now occupies the New Century chair at the Brookings Institution, a position Lawrence once held.

Frankel will take on his position as the Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth in the fall.


Lawrence and Frankel both say they are excited for their new roles.

His experience in Washington has been a busy one, Lawrence said.

"I've been here for a couple months, and it's fun, but it's a little like being dropped into a whirlwind," he said, explaining that the White House process for confirmation is lengthy.

"The White House investigates you, the FBI investigates you, until they're finally happy," he said.

Lawrence has already satisfied those investigations, the president has signed hisnomination and the Senate's final approval isstill forthcoming, according to Lawrence.

Lawrence declined to comment on how long heanticipated waiting for his final approval, butFrankel said the entire process from nomination toapproval has, in recent years, taken about a yearto complete. In Frankel's case, approval camenearly eight months after his nomination.

If approved, Lawrence will join CEA Chair JanetL. Yellen, who served as an assistant professor atHarvard in the 1970's, and CEA member Rebecca M.Blank, an economics professor on leave fromNorthwestern University.

Lawrence's duties as a member will includeresearching CEA activities in certain fields,representing the Council at meetings with otheragencies, and working with the CEA chair toformulate economic advice.

Lawrence said has already begun to work withYellen and Blank in areas such as internationaleconomics, international trade, finance and theenvironment, including researching issues like howto persuade developing countries to activelycounteract greenhouse gases.

In the past week, Lawrence said he has met withJapan's prime minister and Japanese sub-cabinetofficials to discuss some of these issues.

Stanfield Professor of International PeaceRobert D. Putnam, who appointed Lawrence while hewas dean of KSG, said he is proud to haverecruited Lawrence, whom he calls "a splendidinternational economist and local colleague."