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Opinion | An Economics Nobel for and by Central Bankers



The committee that awards the Nobel Prize in economics announced Monday it has chosen three U.S. economists for the 2022 prize: former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, Douglas W. Diamond of the University of Chicago and Philip H. Dybvig of Washington University in St. Louis. The award is for “research on banks and financial crises.” The committee praised the winners for doing work “of great practical importance in regulating financial markets and dealing with financial crises.” Many monetary economists would disagree.

A careless reader of Mr. Bernanke’s prize-winning work might have seen it as adding a few details to Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz’s 1963 book, “A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960.” In fact, it was quite different. “I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again,” said Mr. Bernanke, then a member of the Fed’s board of governors, at Friedman’s 90th birthday party in 2002. Unfortunately, as Fed chairman, Mr. Bernanke, with his fellow Fed governors, did do it again.

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