Axel Weber, Bundesbank president, to join Chicago Booth faculty

Axel Weber, president of Deutsche Bundesbank, is expected to become a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the school announced March 9.

Although details are still to be finalized, the appointment would begin soon after Weber steps down from his position at Bundesbank, expected at the end of next month. At Chicago Booth, he would teach MBA courses in central banking. 

“The faculty and I are very enthusiastic about the possibility of having Dr. Weber join us,” said Sunil Kumar, dean of Chicago Booth. “Not only will our MBA students benefit from hearing him in the classroom, but the entire Booth community will benefit from his out-of-classroom involvement here at seminars, workshops and the many other opportunities we offer for students, faculty and alumni to hear from leading thinkers.”

Weber has been president of the Bundesbank since 2004. The bank is part of the Eurosystem, sharing responsibility with the other national central banks and the European Central Bank for the single currency, the euro.

Weber is currently on leave as a professor of international economics at the University of Cologne.     

He was a member of the German Council of Economic Experts, a group similar to the President’s Council of Economic Advisors in the United States. Earlier in his career he was a director of the Center for Financial Studies in Frankfurt, a professor of applied monetary economics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt and a professor of economic theory at the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms University in Bonn.

“After seven years as a practitioner as the head of a central bank, I have decided to return to economic research in order to help answer the many questions posed by economic policy after the financial crisis,” Weber said. “The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is an excellent place for me because its faculty includes many distinguished researchers who have already worked for several years on issues related to the crisis and how to cope with it, and I personally know them.

“Some of the very best colleagues at Chicago Booth have switched back and forth between academia and economic policy and have thus shaped economic thinking in both areas,” Weber added. “It matches my own experience.”

At Booth, Weber will join a faculty that includes Randall Kroszner, former governor of the Federal Reserve System, and Raghuram Rajan, former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund and current economic advisor to Indian Prime Minister Manoham Singh. 

Weber also will be involved in Booth’s Initiative on Global Markets, a research center that studies how global movement of capital, products and people has fundamentally changed the nature of business in the 21st century. The IGM, which hosts the school’s annual U.S. Monetary Policy Forum, focuses on international business, financial markets, and role of policies and institutions. Co-directors of IGM are senior Booth faculty members Anil Kashyap, a former economist at the Federal Reserve System, and Christian Leuz, a member of the Expert Group on Financial Market Stability in Germany.    

“I am looking forward to teaching at Chicago Booth because from my practical experiences, especially during the financial crisis, I have learned several lessons,” Weber said.  “Results from economic research have been very important for the success in containing the crisis, not the least by preventing us to repeat policy mistakes committed in past crisis.

“A quick response to crises and the design of new instruments requires a profound understanding of the economic mechanisms at work, both in the financial system and in the transmission to the real economy,” he said. 

“The understanding of precisely what went wrong before and during the crisis is still incomplete. We have plausible, sometimes competing, explanations, but the design of a more stable framework for the financial system and better supervision requires more robust results and therefore additional research. By implication, the crisis will continue to significantly enhance the state of economic knowledge,” Weber said.