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Martin Feldstein
Neoclassical economics
Birth November 25, 1939 (1939-11-25) (age 70)
New York City, NY, USA
Nationality  United States
Institution Harvard University 1967-
NBER 1977-82, 1984-
President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board 2006-
American International Group 1988-
Council of Economic Advisers 1982-84
Field Macroeconomics
Alma mater Oxford University (Ph.D., 1967)
Harvard University (B.A., 1961)
Influenced David Ellwood
R. Glenn Hubbard
Laurence J. Kotlikoff
Lawrence Lindsey
Eli Noam
James Poterba
Harvey S. Rosen
Lawrence H. Summers
Contributions Feldstein-Horioka puzzle
Awards John Bates Clark Medal (1977)

Martin Stuart "Marty" Feldstein (born November 25, 1939) is a conservative[1] American economist. He is currently the George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and the president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). He served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the NBER from 1978 through 2008. From 1982 to 1984, Feldstein served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and as chief economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan (where his deficit hawk views clashed with Reagan administration economic policies). He has also been a member of the Washington-based financial advisory body the Group of Thirty since 2003.


Early life

Feldstein was born in New York City and graduated from South Side High School in Rockville Centre, New York. He completed his undergraduate education at Harvard University (B.A., Summa Cum Laude, 1961) and then attended University of Oxford (B.Litt., 1963; D.Phil., 1967). He was also a Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford from 1964 to 1967.


In 1977, he received the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, a prize awarded every two years to the economist under the age of 40 who is judged to have made the greatest contribution to economic science. He is among the 10 most influential economists in the world according to IDEAS/RePEc.[2] He is the author of more than 300 research articles in economics and is known primarily for his work on macroeconomics and public finance. He has pioneered much of the research on the working mechanism and sustainability of public pension systems. Feldstein is an avid advocate of Social Security reform and has been a main driving force behind former President George W. Bush's initiative of partial privatization of the Social Security system. Aside from his contributions to the field of public sector economics, he has also authored other important macroeconomics papers. One of his more well-known papers in this field was his influential investigation with Charles Horioka of investment behavior in various countries. He and Horioka found that in the long run, capital tends to stay in its home country – that is to say, a nation's savings is used to fund its investment opportunities. This has since been known as the “Feldstein-Horioka puzzle”.

In 1997, writing about the upcoming European monetary union and the euro, Feldstein warned that the "adverse economic effects of a single currency on unemployment and inflation would outweigh any gains from facilitating trade and capital flows" and that, while "conceived of as a way of reducing the risk of another intra-European war", it was "more likely to have the opposite effect" and "lead to increased conflicts within Europe and between Europe and the United States".[3]

In 2005, Feldstein was widely considered a leading candidate to succeed chairman Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. This was in part due to his prominence in the Reagan administration and his position as an economic advisor for the Bush presidential campaign. The New York Times wrote an editorial advocating that Bush choose either Feldstein or Ben Bernanke due to their credentials, and the week of the nomination The Economist predicted that the two men had the greatest probability of selection out of the field of candidates.[4] Ultimately, the position went to Bernanke, possibly because Feldstein was a board member of AIG, which announced the same year that it would restate five years of past financial reports by $2.7 billion. Although Feldstein was not linked to the accounting practices in question, he had served as a Director of AIG since 1988, and the Harvard Crimson saw Bush as wanting to avoid a confirmation battle.[5] In March 2007, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation announced that one of four 2007 Bradley Prizes to honor outstanding achievement will be awarded to Feldstein.[6] On September 10, 2007, Feldstein announced that he would be stepping down as president of NBER effective June 2008.[7]

Feldstein said in March 2008 he believes the United States is in a recession and it could be a severe one.[8]

As a member of the board of AIG Financial Products, Feldstein was one of those who had oversight of the division of the international insurer that contributed to the company's crisis in September, 2008. He has also served as a board member for Eli Lilly and Company.

On February 6, 2009, Feldstein was announced as one of U.S. President Obama's advisors on the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.[9]

On May 27, Feldstein announced he will step down as a director of AIG.[10]


A well-known figure on the Harvard campus, Feldstein taught the introductory economics class "Social Analysis 10: Principles of Economics" (commonly referred to as "Ec 10" by Harvard students) for twenty years, succeeded by N. Gregory Mankiw. Ec 10 was routinely the largest class at Harvard, and remains one of the largest, recently being eclipsed (in 2007) by Michael Sandel's "Justice" (Moral Reasoning 22). He currently teaches courses in American economic policy and public sector economics at Harvard College.

Ultimately, Feldstein may have made one of his greatest impacts through the remarkable concentration of his students in top echelons of government and academia. These include: Larry Summers, former Harvard president and US Treasury secretary; David Ellwood, dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; and James Poterba, MIT professor and member of Bush's tax reform advisory panel. Lawrence Lindsey, formerly Bush's top economic adviser, wrote his doctoral thesis under Feldstein, as did Harvey S. Rosen, the previous chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, and Glenn Hubbard, Bush's first chairman of the council and now dean of the Columbia Business School.[11]


  1. ^ Hacker, J. (2006). The Great Risk Shift. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Economist rankings at IDEAS, #7 as of February 10, 2010.
  3. ^ Feldstein, Martin. "EMU and international conflict". Foreign Affairs, November/December 1997.
  4. ^ Editorial, The Next Alan Greenspan. The New York Times, October 6, 2005.
  5. ^ Hernandez, J.C. AIG accounting scandal could reduce Feldstein’s chances of chairing the Fed. The Harvard Crimson, May 13, 2005.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Feldstein, Marty. Feldstein’s Resignation Letter. Wall Street Journal Economics Blog September 10, 2007.
  8. ^ CNN, March 22, 2008.
  9. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (February 6, 2009). "Panel to Advise Obama on Economy". New York Times. 
  10. ^ Ding, Manning. The Harvard Crimson, May 27, 2009.
  11. ^ Gavin, Robert (June 26, 2005). "A principal of economics: Martin Feldstein". Boston Globe. 

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