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Bernanke's Test


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About the Author

Johan Van Overtveldt, PhD, is the director of the Belgium-based think tank VKW Metena, which works on a breadth of economics-related issues. Formerly editor-in-chief of the Belgian news magazine Trends, he has written several books in Dutch, and contributes to the Wall Street Journal Europe and other publications. He is the author of The Chicago School: How the University of Chicago Assembled the Thinkers Who Revolutionized Economics and Business.


In this study of the Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke Federal Reserve eras, Overtveldt (director, VKW Metena, Belgium) provides insight into the current financial crisis. He says that Greenspan was generally successful in keeping the economy vibrant and ameliorating financial shocks but that his use of low interest rates and his opposition to financial regulation fostered the growth of the housing and credit bubble. In 2007 the bubble burst, becoming first a liquidity and then a solvency crisis that could lead not simply to a severe recession but to a depression. Overtveldt examines Bernanke's life and economic thinking, especially on the Great Depression, to show he was equipped for this crisis. Though he admits that it is too early to predict success, he praises Bernanke's early recognition of the crisis, his interest-rate cuts, the innovative ways he injected liquidity into the system, and his push for greater transparency and regulation. Overtveldt's serious examination of how we got into this mess and what the Federal Reserve can do to get us out brings clarity to this period of financial chaos. Highly recommended for all interested readers, many of whom will have liked Mark Zandi's Financial Shock.-Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"A timely study that will help readers interpret the headlines." Kirkus Reviews 'Here at last is a book about the US Federal Reserve that is neither impossibly technical nor populist. The author is obviously extremely familiar with the American financial and political scene.' The Financial Times"

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