WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Brookings Institution today announced the establishment of the George L. Perry and the William C. Brainard BPEA Chair, made possible by a generous gift from Dina Axelrad Perry to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA).
George Perry, together with Arthur Okun, founded BPEA in 1970. After Okun’s death in 1980, Bill Brainard replaced him, and Brainard and Perry led BPEA for nearly three decades.
“For the past 50 years, the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity has brought leading researchers from the academic and financial communities to address the economic policy issues of the day,” said Dina Axelrad Perry. “In doing so it helped shape the evolution of modern economics. This gift of a chair aims to continue this important activity.”
The Perry-Brainard BPEA Chair will support the work of one of BPEA’s editors and other activities to help continue its legacy as a top economics journal with a long-standing reputation for rigorous analysis and real-world application and relevance. Currently, BPEA is led by co-editors Janice Eberly and James Stock. Janice C. Eberly is a nonresident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Economic Studies and the James R. and Helen D. Russell Professor of Finance and former Chair of the Finance Department at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. James H. Stock is a nonresident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Economic Studies and the Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and member of the faculty at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Previous editors include Douglas Elmendorf, Gregory Mankiw, David Romer, Lawrence Summers, and Justin Wolfers.
“BPEA has been such an important part of my own career as an economist,” said Stephanie Aaronson, vice president and director of the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution. “When I joined the Economic Studies program, putting BPEA on firm financial footing was a high priority for me. Dina’s gift is a timely investment during a critical time in our economy and a great start to ensuring BPEA and its editors continue to provide real-time economic research to our policymakers in perpetuity. We are grateful to Dina for her generosity and the opportunity to recognize George and Bill for all they have contributed to this program.”
BPEA’s reputation for quality research, its short timeline, and connections to the policy community allow its editors to recruit top scholars to write on problems of immediate importance. In June 2020, for example, BPEA responded to the twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic collapse, focusing on the epidemiological and economic policies over the past six months, how they have fared, and what next steps are appropriate. Each paper is written to be useful for specialists, but also accessible to non-specialists. They are presented at one of two biannual conferences and discussed by experts in the field as well as top economists in the fields of labor economics, public economics, international economics, econometrics, and traditional macroeconomics, who attend the conferences. BPEA papers are often cited by leadership and senior staff of the Federal Reserve and Council of Economic Advisers and mentioned in congressional testimony. To date, 23 Nobel laureates have participated in BPEA since its inception, as well as 20 John Bates Clark medalists, 14 Fed Governors, 3 Federal Reserve Chairs, and 20 CEA Chairs.
The Brookings Economic Studies program analyzes current and emerging economic issues, focusing on ideas to achieve broad-based economic growth, a strong labor market, sound fiscal and monetary policy, and economic opportunity and social mobility. The research aims to increase understanding of how the economy works and what can be done to make it work better.