February 3, 2014 / 3:17 PM / 4 years ago

Bernanke arrives for first day on the job at Brookings

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ben Bernanke, who stepped down as chairman of the U.S Federal Reserve on Friday, checked into work Monday morning at his new job at the Brookings Institution, a centrist policy think tank based in Washington.

Outgoing U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke leaves his office for the last time before his retirement, at the U.S. Federal Reserve in Washington, January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Bernanke, whose eight-year tenure atop the U.S. central bank was marked by financial crisis and policy experimentation in the face of the Great Recession, joins Brookings as a distinguished fellow in residence at its economic studies program, the institution said on Monday.

There had been some speculation that the former Princeton professor would land at Brookings, where he is expected to write a book, though the quick jump from one job to another may come as a surprise.

Brookings prides itself on having members from both sides of the U.S. political spectrum.

“Brookings scholars have a well established reputation for contributing innovative ideas and trenchant analysis to economic and other public policy debates,” Bernanke said in a statement issued by Brookings. “I welcome the opportunity to engage in that vibrant community through research and writing.”

Bernanke, a George W. Bush appointee who became Fed chairman in 2006, was succeeded by Janet Yellen, the former vice chair who was sworn in on Monday morning.

Bernanke settled into his new office on Monday, a spokeswoman said. According to the statement, he will help bring “rigorous analysis to critical questions” at the institution’s new Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, which is named for private equity investor and donor Glenn Hutchins.

Bernanke’s last public appearance was January 16 at Brookings, where he said the Fed should give the economy the stimulus it needs despite “credible” worries that its massive bond-buying program could destabilize the financial system.

Last week, in his final act as chair, Bernanke and fellow policymakers unanimously agreed to trim another $10 billion from the quantitative easing program, which is now worth $65 billion per month.

Bond buying and promises to keep interest rates near zero well into the future are Bernanke’s two signature policy responses to the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession, which infected the rest of the developed world and saw the U.S. unemployment rate climb to 10 percent in 2009.

Strobe Talbott, the president of Brookings, said Bernanke’s “firm, steady hand at the Fed’s tiller came at a crucial time in our nation’s history.”

“We know he’ll bring insights from his tenure at the Fed to his work at Brookings, which will be particularly valuable and timely given heightened attention to monetary policy and the recent launch of the Hutchins Center,” Talbott said.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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