transcript25 - Financial Markets: Lecture 25 Transcript...

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Financial Markets: Lecture 25 Transcript April 29, 2008 << back Professor Robert Shiller: I'm Bob Shiller. I have the pleasure of introducing this Okun lecturer, Lawrence Summers. I wanted to say first that the Okun Lecture Series was funded by an anonymous donor in honor of Arthur Okun, who was Professor of Economics here at Yale, who later became Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, who founded with William Brainard the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity and was widely admired both here at Yale and around the world as an economist that had a lot of impact on policy--an economist with a purpose. It's altogether fitting that we have Lawrence Summers here as our Okun lecturer for this year. Larry Summers--I'll go through his career briefly--he started out at age sixteen at MIT as a physics major. Fortunately for us, he switched into economics at a very--as a teenager. He got his PhD at Harvard. He got tenure at Harvard at one of the--he's one of the earliest, at age twenty-eight. In 1993, he won the John Bates Clark Medal for the best economist under the age of forty. He joined the staff of the Council of Economic Advisors. He was Undersecretary of Treasury for International Affairs. He was Chief Economist at The World Bank. He was the U.S. Secretary of Treasury. He was President of Harvard University and now he is a University Professor at Harvard and also a Director at D.E. Shaw. His research has done truly stunning--I've always been a huge admirer of it--and it covers many fields--public finance, labor, macroeconomics, and finance, in particular. I thought I would just conclude my introduction with a couple of famous Larry Summers quotes. These quotes are advice to graduate students but they might as well be advice to any researcher. Larry is quoted as saying, "You might as well work on big problems because it takes just as much time to write a paper on a little problem as on a big problem." Another bit of advice to students: "Do your research on the economy not on the economic literature." I think that's a bit of wise advice. But, I think that--to me, that says something about the essence of his research style. He's been extremely potent in his work on very important results that kind of shape our view of the world and I think that it's this research style that is part of the reason why he's been tapped for such important positions. I'm pleased to introduce Larry Summers. Professor Larry Summers: Thank you, Bob, very much for that overly generous introduction. At least one thing you said wasn't quite right. It may or may not have been economics' good luck when I left physics, but it was surely the good luck of the physics profession when I left physics. I appreciated your generosity in reflecting on the different sectors in which I've had a chance to work. When I first moved from the University to Washington, people asked me, well what's different about being a senior Treasury official from being a professor at Harvard? I realized the answer to that one was easy. As a professor at Harvard, the single worst
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transcript25 - Financial Markets: Lecture 25 Transcript...

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