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Former professor and Fed chairman Bernanke joins Brookings Institution

Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke has joined the Brookings Institution, a bipartisan economic think tank, as a distinguished fellow in residence.

Bernanke, who served two four-year terms at the Fed, was an economics professor at the University from 1985 until 2005. He was chair of the economics department from 1996 to 2002.

“We are proud to welcome Chairman Bernanke into the Brookings family,” Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott said. “His firm, steady hand at the Fed’s tiller came at a crucial time in our nation’s history, including during the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

The Brookings Institution announced Bernanke’s appointment on Feb. 3, the same day that Janet Yellen was appointed as the new chair of the Fed. In its press release, the Institution mentioned that Bernanke — pegged as the “rescuer-in-chief” during the financial crisis — planned to write a book on his experience in Washington.

“Ben Bernanke won’t have to sit through any more meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee or deliver the Fed’s semi-annual testimony to an occasionally hostile Congress or listen to complaints from emerging market central bankers when central bankers gather in Basel, Switzerland,” the release said. “He will, instead, have time to reflect on what just happened.”

The Brookings Institution was founded in 1916 and is widely considered one of the most important economic think tanks, according to economics professor Alan Krueger, former chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“The Brookings Institution is the oldest, most well-respected and most influential non-partisan think tank in Washington,” Krueger said. “It doesn’t have much of an impact on education, but it does have a significant impact on policy.”

A study conducted by UCLA found the Institution to be the most frequently cited think tank by the U.S. media.

It remains to be seen whether Bernanke will continue to be influential at the Fed. Krueger said he thought it unlikely that Bernanke would exert behind-the-scenes influence.

“That’s not his style,” Krueger said. “I suspect he’ll write a fascinating book on his experience in economic policy. Economic history has always been his first love.”

Although opinions are split, many have lauded Bernanke’s policies for stemming the tide of the recession.

“Despite the massive deleveraging of the last few years, we are still deeply in debt to Ben Bernanke,” Vice Chair of the Brookings Board Glenn Hutchins said in the Institution’s press release.

Bernanke will join several other former Fed Board members at the Institution. Senior fellows Alice Rivlin and Donald Kohn both served as vice chairs of the Fed, while former governors of the Fed Edward Gramlich and Nancy Teeters were also fellows at the Brookings Institution.

Bernanke and the Brookings Institution could not be reached for comment.

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