The George S. Eccles Prize in Economic Writing

Ben Bernake

Ben Bernake Awarded 2016 Eccles Prize

May 4, 2016

In 2007, the US housing bubble burst, exposing vulnerabilities of the global financial system and leading to unprecedented events in both the United States and world economies. For Ben S. Bernanke, who had been appointed chair of the Federal Reserve the year before, these events and the efforts to keep the economy afloat would take him on an unexpected journey. In his memoir, “The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath” (2015), he shares details of his decision-making process and how the Fed, along with its colleagues, prevented an economic collapse.

The book is credited by the New York Times as “..undoubtedly the best account we will ever have of how government and financial institutions dealt with what has come to be known as the Great Recession.” On May 4, 2016, Ben S. Bernanke will receive the 2016 George S. Eccles Prize for Excellence in Economic Writing. A ceremony, candid discussion, and Q&A session led by Glenn Hubbard, Dean and Russel L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics will take place from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Casa Italiana on Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus.

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George S. Eccles ’22 initially established the prize at the School over 25 years ago to foster interest in and spur public discussion of economic theory, practice, and issues. Between 1986 and 1993, it was awarded annually to esteemed figures such as Henry Kaufman, Maryann Keller, and Paul Krugman, for their works bridging theory and practice. It was given again in 1998, when Bhagwati, then of MIT, was recognized for his book, Stream of Windows (The MIT Press, 1999).

In 2010, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation inaugurated an annual research award in finance and economics for Columbia Business School faculty members and reestablished the prize for economic writing. In 2013, Paul Tetlock, the Roger F. Murray Associate Professor of Finance, was honored for his research on the impact of investors’ collective attention on stock prices. Also in 2013, Professor Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Professor James A. Robinson of Harvard took the Excellence in Economic Writing Award for their book, Why Nations Fail (Crown Business, 2012); Henry Kissinger received the award in 2012 for his book, Henry Kissinger on China (The Penguin Press HC, 2011).