October 24, 2008
Economics Professor Jean Boivin, a major player in studying and advancing the management of monetary policy, has just been appointed Chair in Monetary Policy and Financial Markets, created at HEC Montréal.
Professor Boivin will continue to build on his work he began several years ago with Ben Bernanke, the current Chairman of the US Federal Reserve. As he explains, “one of the ultimate goals of this research program is to develop a system for managing monetary policy with benefits similar to those that followed the introduction of automatic pilots in aviation, or artificial intelligence in medicine.“
“Analyzing traditional indicators like GDP, inflation or interest rates is no longer enough,” he explains. “Central banks are inundated with hundreds of indicators offering incredibly rich, but sometimes contradictory, data from many sectors and different regions of a country. The challenge is to make use of all the relevant information, in real time.”
In the short term, the goal of the Chair is to develop, for Canada and the United States, a real-time implementation of a data-rich structural model that can process all the macroeconomic indicators as they become available. Processing a very large quantity of macroeconomic data more efficiently and systematically will give us a much deeper and clearer appreciation and understanding of the economic environment and situation. While the payoff in terms of monetary policy management is easy to imagine, Jean Boivin sees many other advantages, such as:
“Monetary authorities, business leaders, investors and consumers make decisions, and citizens vote on the basis of their views and understanding of the economic environment,” says HEC Montréal Director Michel Patry. “That makes advanced research in this field extremely important. In addition, with Jean Boivin, we are fortunate to have not only one of the most respected and widely cited economists in the world, but someone who can make the field accessible to laymen and who devotes a great deal of energy to sharing his knowledge.”
Jean Boivin began his academic career at the Graduate Business School of Columbia University, and joined the Institute of Applied Economics at HEC Montréal in 2006. He still teaches in the Executive MBA program at Columbia Business School. He has written many articles drawing on his research in monetary policy, macroeconomic forecasting and finance, published in such journals as the American Economic Review, the most prestigious journal in the profession, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Journal of Monetary Economics. In 2007 and 2008, MBA students voted him professor of the year in the “mandatory courses in English” and “optional courses” categories.
Jean Boivin is a member of the Monetary Policy Council of the C.D. Howe Institute, of Toronto. The independent, non-partisan Council comprises 12 of Canada's most distinguished experts from the banking and academic communities. He is a Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, MA) and of the Centre for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organizations (CIRANO), and a member of the Inter-university Centre on Risk, Economic Policy and Employment (CIRPÉE).
He is a familiar name in the media and in scientific forums, and has also served as a consultant for the Bank of Canada and the European Central Bank, among others. In 2008 he was part of the task force appointed by the Quebec Department of Finance to examine ways of stimulating private investment in Quebec.