Paul Volcker

From Academic Kids

Paul Adolph Volcker (born September 5, 1927), economist, is best-known as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve under United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan (from August 1979 to August 1987). Educated at Princeton, Harvard and the London School of Economics, from 1969 to 1974 Mr. Volcker served as under-secretary of the Treasury for international monetary affairs. He played an important role in the decisions surrounding the US decision to suspend gold convertibility in 1971, which resulted in the collapse of the Bretton Woods system. In general he acted as a moderating influence on policy, advocating the pursuit of an international solution to monetary problems. After leaving the US Treasury, he became president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1975 to 1979.

Volcker's Fed is credited with ending the United States' inflation crisis of the early 1980s. They achieved this by constricting the money supply through a sharp increase in interest rates. By 1985, inflation was considerably lowered from 9 percent in 1980 to 3.2 percent in 1983. This disinflation was predictably accompanied by a decrease in GDP growth (i.e. a recession), and by an increase in unemployment, which rose to the highest levels since World War II. Both GDP and unemployment returned to normal levels when the inflation problem had been solved and interest rates were lowered, however.

In April 2004, the United Nations assigned him to research possible corruption in the Iraqi Oil for Food program. In the report summarising the research, Volcker criticized Kojo Annan, son of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and the Swiss company Cotecna Inspection SA, Annan's employer, for trying to conceal their relationship.

See also: monetary exchange equation, Phillips curve.


Preceded by:
G. William Miller
Chairman of the Federal Reserve
1979–1987
Succeeded by:
Alan Greenspan

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