Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's good to be King

Though he lacks a Ph.D., Mr. King, a Cambridge graduate, is one of central banking's leading intellectuals. He has taught at the London School of Economics and, briefly, at Harvard and MIT, where he befriended Mr. Bernanke. Both are students of economic history; Mr. King sat in on some of Mr. Bernanke's Great Depression lectures. Today, Mr. King joins other economists, central bankers and financiers for occasional dinners to discuss financial history.

Blunt and bespectacled, Mr. King joined the Bank in 1991 and has been its governor -- the equivalent of Fed chairman -- since 2003. He has kept his academic bent, littering speeches with historical and literary references, many gleaned from solitary visits to a private lending library near the central bank. He keeps his mornings meeting-free, reserved for thinking and writing. He writes most of his own speeches, often gathering staff economists in his office, seminarlike, to discuss topics.

Mr. King helped devise the bank's current approach to setting a public inflation goal -- now 2%. After the bank won independence from the elected government in 1997, he helped develop public reports that show how policy makers plan to keep inflation on target; the reports have become a model for Mr. Bernanke's efforts to increase transparency at the Fed.

-Bank of England Chief Changes Tack in Crisis

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