Maurice Obstfeld

Research Expertise and Interest

economics, monetary and fiscal remedies for deflation, open-market purchases in a liquidity trap, exchange rates, and monetary policy, international finance, open-economy macroeconomics, macroeconomic history

Research Description

Maurice Obstfeld is the Class of 1958 Professor of Economics. His current research is in dynamic open-economy models with nominal rigidities, exchange rates and international financial crises, global capital-market integration in historical perspective, and monetary policy in open economies. He joined Berkeley in 1989 as a professor, following appointments at Columbia (1979-1986) and the University of Pennsylvania (1986-1989).  He was also a visiting professor at Harvard between 1989 and 1991.  He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1979, following degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Cambridge.  In 2014-2015 he was a Member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, and from 2015-2018 he served as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.  Before that, he served as an honorary adviser to the Bank of Japan’s Institute of Monetary and Economic Studies.  Among Professor Obstfeld's honors are the Frank Graham Lecture at Princeton, the inaugural Mundell-Fleming Lecture of the International Monetary Fund, the Bernhard Harms Prize and Lecture of the Kiel Institute for World Economy, and the Richard Ely Lecture of the American Economic Association.  Professor Obstfeld is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He is active as a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Most recently, he has joined the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., as a nonresident senior fellow.

In the News

Prices are spiking for homes, cars and gas. Don’t be alarmed, economists say

The U.S. Department of Labor reported yesterday that the Consumer Price Index rose 5% in May, following a 4.2% jump in April. But at UC Berkeley, high-level economists are offering some calming advice: A measure of inflation is inevitable as the U.S. economy comes back online, but it will likely be modest. And it will almost certainly blow over as the economy stabilizes.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
May 22, 2020
Maurice Obstfeld and Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Special to CalMatters
Recommending further federal action to bolster the economy, economics professor Maurice Obstfeld and business professor Laura Tyson, both members of the Governor's Council of Economic Advisers, write: "Under current conditions, the macroeconomic rationale for significant additional federal funding for state governments is compelling. If plummeting revenues force states to slam on their fiscal brakes, that will undermine the federal government's own countercyclical measures, resulting in a deeper recession, more unemployment and a slower recovery for the entire nation. ... Investors around the world are willing to make long-term loans to the federal government at very low interest rates. The Federal Reserve is committed to unlimited purchases of U.S. securities and Fed Chair Jerome Powell has warned of deep and lasting economic consequences without more fiscal support. Under current and foreseeable economic conditions, the federal government can and should fund another major economic relief package and include at least $1 trillion in flexible funding for state and local governments."
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