Rockefeller Center panel to discuss national economics

by Kristine Jiwoo Ahn | 9/27/16 12:53am

Today’s “Links between Financial Markets and the American Economy” symposium will feature debate from three distinguished panelists on recent and prospective changes to the financial system. The lecture will characterize connections between the financial system and the broader economy, as well as how changes in the supervision of the American financial system could help mitigate risks and promote sustainable economic growth.

The panel, moderated by Tuck School of Business professor Peter Fisher, will consist of Annamaria Lusardi, the Denit Trust Chair of economics and accountancy at the George Washington University School of Business; Jeremy Stein, an economics professor at Harvard University and Egon Zakrajšek, a senior advisor on the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors.

The trio brings a diverse set of perspectives and experiences, having previously worked in an array of public offices, private sector jobs and the academic positions.

“The three panelists and the moderator are some of the most distinguished people in this field,” Andrew Levin, economics professor and event co-organizer, said. “They have an interesting mixture of deep academic insight, having done a lot of research, and practical policy experience of working and making decisions in the real world.”

Lusardi’s fields of interest include financial literacy, personal finance, macroeconomics and entrepreneurship.Lusardi taught as an economics professor at Dartmouth from 1992-2010, and she has previously served as an academic advisor to the United States Department of the Treasury, among other roles.

Stein focuses on topics including risk management and monetary policy. In March of 2014, he gave a speech to the International Research Forum on Monetary Policy in Washington, D.C., discussing how monetary policy should consider issues of financial stability.

At the Fed, Zakrajšek helps analyze the relationship between financial stability and monetary policy. He previously worked as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, in addition to holding teaching posts at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University.

Levin, who spent two decades at the Fed and has been a staunch advocate for its reform, contextualized the symposium’s relevance in light of recent economic events.

“The financial crisis of 2007-08 was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Millions of American families lost their jobs and homes,” he said. “The crucial issue in terms of public policy and the financial system is to make sure that sort of crisis doesn’t happen again.”

Levin said that it is important to recognize that this issue is not theoretical and that making policy decisions about the financial system could potentially have substantial economic consequences.

To Fisher, the connections between markets, policy and economy are crucial topics to consider both today and in the future.

“I realize that these questions may seem obtuse or remote, but they’re actually pressing issues of how the government can stimulate the economy — when it might go too far, and how people should manage the consequences,” he said.

Levin reiterated that he thinks it is important for the Dartmouth community to ponder these links, and that the symposium is intended to shed light on the various complexities.

“Even someone who’s not planning to go into the financial system or public policy should think about these issues because having a strong understanding would be helpful for them,” he said. “This is connected to everything.”

The symposium will take place today at 5 p.m. in Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall. The Tuck School of Business, the economics department and the Rockefeller Center sponsored the event.