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Alan Greenspan



March 6, 1926

Quick Facts about Greenspan:

  • Chairman of the Federal Reserve
  • Studied clarinet at Juilliard School of Music and played saxophone in a band before studying to become an economist
  • Director of domestic policy for the Richard Nixon campaign; turned down a full-time position in the administration
  • Nominated to his position by President Reagan after then-Chairman Paul Volcker announced his resignation.
  • Greenspan once dated Barbara Walters.
  • He does most of his work while soaking in the bathtub each morning.

Greenspan's Educational Background:

Completing his three degrees at New York University, Alan Greenspan received a B.S. in Economics, summa cum laude, in 1948, an M.A. in Economics in 1950, and a Ph.D. in Economics in 1977. According to his official Federal Reserve biography, Dr. Greenspan has received honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, Pennsylvania, Leuven (Belgium), Notre Dame, Wake Forest, and Colgate universities.

Pre-Federal Reserve Professional Background:

  • After earning his M.A., Alan Greenspan partnered with a bond trader in order to form Townsend-Greenspan, an economic consulting firm.
  • Served as Director of Domestic Policy for the Richard Nixon campaign in 1967. Worked with the President-elect's transition team despite turning down a job offer.
  • On September 1, 1971, became Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors; left when Carter defeated Ford.
  • Served as Chairman of the National Commission on Social Security Reform from 1981 to 1983.

Accomplishments at the Federal Reserve:

  • In 2004, Greenspan was appointed to his fifth term as Chairman of the Board.
  • During his tenure, he helped steer the economy through the crash of 1987, the recession of the early 1990's, the dot-com bubble and the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
  • According to ABC News, in 1998 unemployment reached a 24-year low, inflation hit an 11-year low and consumer confidence was the highest it had been in 30 years thanks, in part, to Mr. Greenspan.

Little Known Fact - Greenspan and Margin Controls:

The Federal Reserve has the authority to regulate margin requirements for American investors. This power has been unused since the last 1970's. Some have criticized Greenspan for not tightening the reigns to take momentum out of the Internet bubble. Given that the Federal Reserve's two-fold mandate is to 1.) control inflation and 2.) promote economic growth, this argument seems unfair.

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