ARTHUR F. BURNS Biography - Bussiness people and enterpreneurs


Biography » bussiness people and enterpreneurs » arthur f burns


Arthur Frank Burns, 1904-1987
The Austrian-born Arthur F. Burns was the prominent and influential Chairmen of   
the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1970 to 1978. He had     
previously served as the chair of the President Eisenhower's Council of Economic   
Advisors from 1953 to 1956, where he developed a influential relationship with     
Richard Nixon - who made him his counsellor in 1969 and subsequently appointed     
him Chairman of the Federal Reserve in 1970. Later on, he took a position at the   
American Enterprise Insitute, served as an advisor to Ronald Reagan and was       
appointed American ambassador to West Germany.                                     
Burns's remarkable conservative connections did not, however, prevent him from     
being almost a "liberal Keynesian" in practice. He was behind most of the demand   
management during the Eisenhower administration and, later during the Nixon       
reign, Burns was a constant advocate of incomes policies and eschewed strict       
rules in the conduct of monetary policy. It was Burns that effectively undertook   
the "stop-go" monetary policy of the 1970s which later led him to be succeeded     
by the ferociously monetarist Paul Volcker in 1978.                               
In economics, however, Arthur Burns is most associated with the business cycle     
vein of the American Institutionalist school. A student of Wesley Mitchell,       
Burns co-authored the famous NBER study, the massive Measuring Business Cycles     
(1946), with Mitchell, one of the most definitive empirical works of the           
Burns stayed on at Columbia and the NBER, where he counted Milton Friedman and     
George Stigler as his students - a remarkable coincidence given that although     
both of them retained an apparently deep affection for their old professor,       
their sometimes vituperative criticisms of the Federal Reserve in the 1970s were   
very much directed at Burns.                                                       
Major Works of Arthur F. Burns                                                     
  Production Trends in the United States since 1870, 1934.                         
  Measuring Business Cycles, with W.C. Mitchell, 1946.                             
  Frontiers of Economic Knowledge, 1954.                                           
  Prosperity without Inflation, 1957.                                             
  The Business Cycle in a Changing World, 1969.                                   
  Reflections of an Economic Policy Maker, 1978.