Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: June 2014

20 - The Path of a Monetary Economist


In this essay, I outline the path that I have taken as a monetary economist. As befits this volume, my discussion is necessarily very personal (hopefully not too self-indulgent), and it also illustrates my personal philosophy of economics and how it developed over my career. Let me start by describing why I became an economist in the first place, and then I will move on to my research, teaching, and role as a policy maker.

Why I Became an Economist

The path to becoming an economist starts as early as I remember. I was a pretty nerdy child and I was destined for academia. From the time I was six, my parents and siblings sometimes referred to me as the “little professor,” not just because I was studious, with my face always in a book, but also because I was a “space cadet” who often was off in another world. Although this appellation was to some extent a criticism that my social skills were not of the highest order, I never took offense. Indeed, I was proud to be a nerd. When my eldest sister, whom I love dearly, came home for Thanksgiving from her freshman year at college at a small teacher’s college in Boston, she told us about going to a mixer with boys from MIT and described them as “creeps” (the word used for “nerds” at the time, which was in the early 1960s). She then turned to me and said, “Just like you.” Again, I didn’t take offense at all. Indeed, I took it as a compliment because I wanted to be just like them and go to MIT, which I did six years later.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Akerlof, George (1970). “The Market for Lemons,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 84 (August): 488–500.
Bernanke, Ben S. (1983). “Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression,” American Economic Review 73, no. 3 (June): 257–276.
Bernanke, Ben S., Laubach, Thomas, Mishkin, Frederic S., and Posen, Adam S. (1999). Inflation Targeting: Lessons from the International Experience. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Bernanke, Ben S. and Mishkin, Frederic S. (1992). “Central Bank Behavior and the Strategy of Monetary Policy: Observations from Six Industrialized Countries,” NBER Macroeconomics Annual, 183–228.
Bernanke, Ben S. and Mishkin, Frederic S. (1997). “Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?Journal of Economic Perspectives 11, no. 2 (Spring): 97–116.
Calomiris, Charles W. (1993). “Financial Factors and the Great Depression,” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring): 61–85.
French, Kenneth, et al. (2010). The Squam Lake Report: Fixing the Financial System. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Friedman, Milton and Schwartz, Anna Jacobson (1963). A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Giavazzi, Francesco and Mishkin, Frederic S. (2006). An Evaluation of Swedish Monetary Policy Between 1995 and 2005. Stockholm: Sveriges Riksdag.
Hall, Robert E. (1978). “Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle–Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence,” Journal of Political Economy 86, no. 6 (December): 971–987.
Joskow, Paul and Mishkin, Frederic S. (1977). “Electric Utility Fuel Choice Behavior in the United States,” International Economic Review 18, no. 3 (October): 719–736.
Lucas, Robert E., Jr. (1976). “Econometric Policy Evaluation: A Critique,” Carnegie Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 1: 19–46.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (1976). “Illiquidity, Consumer Durable Expenditure, and Monetary Policy,” American Economic Review 66, no. 4 (September): 642–654.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (1978). “The Household Balance-Sheet and the Great Depression,” Journal of Economic History 38 (December): 918–937.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (1982). “Does Anticipated Monetary Policy Matter? An Econometric Investigation,” Journal of Political Economy 90 (February): 21–51.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (1983). A Rational Expectations Approach to Macroeconometrics: Testing Policy Ineffectiveness and Efficient Markets Models. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (1986). The Economics of Money, Banking and Financial Markets. Boston: Little Brown.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (1991). “Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: A Historical Perspective,” in Hubbard, R. Glenn (ed.), Financial Markets and Financial Crises, 69–108. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (1996). “Understanding Financial Crises: A Developing Country Perspective,” in Bruno, Michael and Pleskovic, Boris (eds.), Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics, 1996, 29–62. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (2006). The Next Great Globalization: How Disadvantaged Nations Can Harness Their Financial Systems to Get Rich. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (2011). “Monetary Policy Strategy: Lessons from the Crisis,” in Jarocinski, Marek, Smets, Frank, and Thimann, Christian (eds.), Monetary Policy Revisited: Lessons from the Crisis, Sixth ECB Central Banking Conference, 67–118. Frankfurt: European Central Bank.
Mishkin, Frederic S. (2012). Macroeconomics: Policy and Practice. Boston: Addison-Wesley.
Mishkin, Frederic S. and Posen, Adam S. (1997). “Inflation Targeting: Lessons from Four Countries,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Policy Review 3, no. 3 (August): 9–110.