February 20, 2008, Cambridge, Massachusetts , — The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of the economy, has selected Dr. James Poterba as its next president and chief executive officer.

The appointment, announced today by Chairperson Dr. Elizabeth Bailey, is effective July 1, 2008. Dr. Poterba will succeed Dr. Martin Feldstein, who is retiring after 30 years of distinguished leadership of NBER. Dr. Feldstein will become president emeritus of the NBER. He will continue to serve as an NBER Research Associate and as a professor at Harvard University.

Dr. Poterba is the Mitsui Professor of Economics and the head of the Economics Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition, he is the current director of the Public Economics Research Program at NBER, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society. He has served as a director of the American Finance Association, and was a member of the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association. In 2005, he was a member of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform,

“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Jim as the next leader of the NBER,” said Dr. Bailey. “We believe he will do an outstanding job of bringing his vision and talents to the Bureau and will build on the enormous legacy left by Marty Feldstein.”

Dr. Poterba's research focuses on how taxation affects the economic decisions of households and firms. His recent work emphasized the effect of taxation on the financial behavior of households, particularly their saving and portfolio decisions. He has been especially interested in the analysis of tax-deferred retirement saving programs, such as 401(k) plans, and in the role of annuities in financing retirement consumption.

“I am incredibly honored to serve as the next president of the NBER,” said Dr. Poterba. “I look forward to working with the program directors and research affiliates to maintain and enhance the NBER’s position as a global leader in producing relevant economic research.”

Dr. Poterba studied economics as an undergraduate at Harvard University and received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in economics from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He has been an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, a Batterymarch Fellow, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

“I am delighted to have Jim as the next president of the Bureau,” said Dr. Feldstein. “Jim’s extensive research and years of experience as Director of the Public Economics Research Program at the NBER make him an excellent fit.”

NBER Presidential Search Committee members included: Committee Chairperson Dr. Michael Moskow, Vice Chairman and Senior Fellow, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Dr. Richard Berner, Managing Director and Chief US Economist, Morgan Stanley; Dr. Kathleen Cooper, Senior Fellow, Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University; Dr. Ray Fair, John M. Musser Professor of Economics, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University; Dr. Caroline Minter Hoxby, Scott & Donya Bommer Professor of Economics, Stanford University; Dr. Marina v.N. Whitman, Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, University of Michigan; Dr. David Wise, John F. Stambaugh Professor of Political Economy, Kennedy School, Harvard University. Liaison members of the search committee included: Dr. Elizabeth Bailey, NBER Chairperson, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; and Mr. John Clarkeson, NBER Vice Chairman, Boston Consulting Group. Assisting was the search firm Storbeck/Pimentel of Media, PA that specializes in presidential searches for nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities.

About the NBER
Founded in 1920, the NBER is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community. More than 900 professors of economics and business are NBER researchers. These Bureau associates concentrate on four types of empirical research: developing new statistical measurements, estimating quantitative models of economic behavior, assessing the effects of public policies on the U.S. economy, and projecting the effects of alternative policy proposals. The NBER is governed by a Board of Directors with representatives from the leading U.S. research universities and major national economics organizations. Other prominent economists from business, trade unions, and academe also sit on the Bureau's Board.

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