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How Economics Becomes Policy

Austan Goolsbee discusses his role as chief economist of Obama recovery board

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April 28, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold
Austan Goolsbee of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers on campus April 26. Photo by Stephen Anzaldi
Austan Goolsbee, a member of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, talked to a packed audience April 26, offering colorful anecdotes about life in Washington, D.C., as well as an insider's insights about how economic analysis informs public policy during difficult times. 

The chief economist of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board delivered the Institute for Policy Research's Distinguished Policy Lecture.  He used health care reform and financial regulation to emphasize the need for interdisciplinary approaches to solving big problems. And he talked about the obligation of academics to share their research because of the vast funding support they receive from the federal government.

In his positions in the Obama administration, Goolsbee ensures that the president receives research and analysis on the economy that will inform his decision-making.

Prior to his appointment to the White House, Goolsbee was an economics columnist for The New York Times and the online publication Slate. He first served as an economics adviser to Obama during Obama's 2004 campaign for U.S. Senate.

Long identified as a rising star in the field of economics, Goolsbee is on leave from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. He was selected in 2005 by the Financial Times as one of six "Gurus of the Future." And he was named one of the 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow at the 2002 World Economic Forum.