Ian Macfarlane (economist)

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Ian Macfarlane
6th Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia
In office
September 1996 – 17 September 2006
Preceded by Bernie Fraser
Succeeded by Glenn Stevens
Personal details
Born (1946-06-22) 22 June 1946 (age 68)
Nationality Australian
Alma mater B.Ec. (Hons), M.Ec.,
Monash University
D.Sc.Ec. (Honoris Causa),
University of Sydney, D.Litt. (Honoris Causa),
Maquarie University
D.Com. (Honoris Causa),
University of Melbourne,LL.D (Honoris Causa),
Monash University
D.Sc. (Honoris Causa), University of New South Wales
Profession Economist
For the politician, see Ian Macfarlane (politician).

Ian John Macfarlane, AC (born 22 June 1946), Australian economist, and Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Australia's central bank, from 1996 to 17 September 2006. He is also former Chairman of the Payments System Board of the Reserve Bank and Chairman of the Council of Financial Regulators.

Macfarlane was educated at Monash University, Melbourne, from which he received the Bachelor of Economics degree with honours in 1968, and the Master of Economics degree in 1971. He tutored in economics there before joining the RBA in 1970. From 1971–72 he worked at the Institute of Economics and Statistics at the University of Oxford. Following this, he then moved to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, where he served until 1978, before returning to the RBA. He became head of the bank's Research Department in 1988, Assistant Governor (Economic) in 1990, Deputy Governor in 1992 and Governor in 1996.

Macfarlane has been awarded honorary doctorates from five Australian universities: a DSc from the University of Sydney, a DLitt from Macquarie University, a DCom from the University of Melbourne, a LLD from Monash and a DSc from the University of New South Wales. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1998.

In January 2004 Macfarlane was awarded Australia's highest honour, Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC). He was honoured "for service to the stabilisation of the Australian financial system, to central banking, and to the operation of monetary and economic policy in both domestic and international spheres".

Macfarlane ended his term as Governor on 17 September 2006 after 10 years presiding over Australia's economic expansion.[1] He was replaced by Glenn Stevens. The Treasurer at that time, Peter Costello, said of Macfarlane: "Ian Macfarlane has been an exceptionally successful governor of the Reserve Bank ... And when history of the last 10 years is written, it will show as one of, if not the greatest periods of economic management in Australian history." [1] Prime Minister John Howard wrote in his autobiography[2] "Macfarlane was the stand-out economic official in the lifetime of my government. His advice and sense of balance was far superior to that of anybody else who provided economic advice to us".

He is currently a director of Woolworths Limited and ANZ Bank. He is also on the International Advisory Boards of Goldman Sachs, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the Lowy Institute for International Policy.

In his Boyer Lectures[3] in 2006 and in an interview with The Diplomat in 2008 Macfarlane spoke about the changes he has observed in the financial sector during his long career. He believes that increasingly the financial sector itself has become the source of economic shocks, rather than reacting to real economic shocks such as increases in oil prices. Macfarlane has also noted that recent trends in credit markets can be seen as a result of global imbalances primarily originating in Asia.[4]

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Preceded by
Bernie Fraser
Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia
1996 - 2006
Succeeded by
Glenn Stevens