Romer to discuss economic policy, leadership as ISU's fall Mary Louise Smith Chair

AMES, Iowa -- Christina Romer, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers -- an agency within the Executive Office of the President of the United States -- will visit Iowa State University on Thursday, Dec. 1, as the fall 2011 Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics.

She will present "Policy Responses to the Great Recession: The Interaction of Leadership and Economic Ideas" at 8 p.m. in the Great Hall of Memorial Union. The presentation is free and open to the public.

"Our goal was to bring in a speaker who could discuss women and leadership in the context of the U.S. economy, which is considered the most important issue facing U.S. policymakers today," said Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, which hosts the event. "Christina Romer is one of the nation's leading scholars of macroeconomic history and an expert on the Great Depression. She is also known for her collaborative leadership style as well as being an excellent public speaker."

In her public presentation, Romer will talk about the policy response to the recession and continuing economic crisis.

"I will discuss the impact of the recession and the policy response on various demographic groups, including women and young people," she said. "One theme of the talk is the important interaction between views on how the economy operates and leadership, illustrating this interaction with episodes from history and modern policymaking throughout the world."

When President Obama announced Romer as his choice to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, a Nov. 24, 2008 Wall Street Journal article noted that she and her husband, David, were "so well-regarded by their peers of both parties" that "many economists cheered that the . . . administration is going for the top minds in the field rather than those who adhere most closely to party lines."

"Christina Romer is an outstanding selection, continuing an impressive array of women leaders in the chair," wrote Dr. Robert C. Smith, the son of Mary Louise Smith, who lives in East Lansing, Mich. "My mother would be very pleased at your successes."

As chair of the Council of Economic Advisers from January 2009 until September 2010, Romer was one of the four economics leaders who met with President Obama daily to design and guide the administration's response to the recession. She played a key role in macroeconomic policy, the rescue and reform of the financial system, health care reform and budget policy. In addition, she was a primary spokesperson on the economy for the administration, appearing frequently on the evening news, in the financial press and on the Sunday morning news programs.

An expert in economic history and macroeconomics, Romer is a leading scholar on the Great Depression and the impact of monetary and fiscal policy. She is the Class of 1957 Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics at the University of California-Berkeley and is co-director of the Program in Monetary Economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Romer is the author of numerous scholarly articles and a regular contributor to The New York Times' "Economic View" column in the Sunday business section. She is also a contributing editor for Bloomberg Television.

Romer is the recipient of numerous awards for her scholarship and teaching, including the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, a Simon P. Guggenheim fellowship, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of California-Berkeley.

Romer is the 22nd prominent woman leader to visit Iowa State under sponsorship of the Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics, which was established in 1995 to honor the Iowa native regarded as one of the nation's most respected women political leaders. Smith was the only woman to chair the Republican National Party (1974-77). The chair established in her name brings a public leader, scholar or activist to the Iowa State campus once or twice each year.