Austan Goolsbee

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Austan Goolsbee
Austan Goolsbee official portrait 2.jpg
President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Assumed office
January 9, 2023
Preceded byCharles L. Evans
26th Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
In office
September 10, 2010 – August 5, 2011
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byChristina Romer
Succeeded byAlan Krueger
Personal details
Austan Dean Goolsbee

(1969-08-18) August 18, 1969 (age 53)
Waco, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Robin Winters
(m. 1997)
EducationYale University (BA, MA)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD)

Austan Dean Goolsbee (born August 18, 1969) is an American economist and writer. He is the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Goolsbee formerly served as the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business,[1] and as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2010-2011 and as a member of President Barack Obama's cabinet.[2] He served as a member of the Chicago Board of Education from 2018-2019.[3]

Goolsbee was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers before becoming chair. He was also the Chief economist and chief-of-staff to Paul Volcker at the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Goolsbee was born in Waco, Texas,[5] the son of Linda Catherine (née Dean) and the late Arthur Leon Goolsbee, a former executive of Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company.[6][7] He was raised primarily in Whittier, California.[8]

He graduated from Milton Academy and received both his B.A. summa cum laude and M.A. in economics from Yale University in 1991. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995.

He was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (2000–02) and Fulbright Scholar (2006–07).[9]


Goolsbee has been a Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation,[10] Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts,[11] and a member of the Panel of Economic Advisors to the Congressional Budget Office.[12] He was previously named a Senior Economist to the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.[13][14]

Goolsbee's academic research focuses on the Internet, the new economy, government policy, and taxes. He has taught MBA classes on microeconomics, platform competition, economics and policy in the telecom, media and technology industries and economic policy (jointly with Raghuram Rajan) and Ph.D. classes in Public Economics. He is an award winning teacher

Goolsbee was an award-winning journalist while serving as an academic. Goolsbee is the former host of the television show History's Business on the History Channel. In April 2006, Goolsbee began writing for the Economic Scene column in The New York Times. This column was later moved to Sundays and renamed the Economic View. He continues to serve as a columnist for it today. Prior to this, he wrote the "Dismal Science" column for, for which he won the 2006 Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism. He has published scores of papers in various peer-reviewed journals and books.[15]

Public service[edit]

Campaign Advising[edit]

He advised President Obama during his 2004 U.S. Senate race and was senior economic policy adviser during the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.[16][17]

In 2019, he endorsed Pete Buttigieg during the Democratic Party presidential primary.[18]

In the 2020 general election, he co-chaired the Economic Advisory Council for the Joe Biden Campaign.[19]

Service in Obama administration[edit]

Goolsbee was nominated by Obama to serve on the Council of Economic Advisers on his first day in office. Goolsbee was confirmed by the Senate on March 10, 2009.[20] He concurrently served as chief economist and chief of staff at the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He was designated chair of the Council on September 10, 2010 succeeding Christina Romer.[21]

In these capacities, Goolsbee served as a media surrogate for the Obama Administration and his skill on television was noted in the media.[22][23] He also starred in the White House Whiteboards which explained administration policy in an accessible way. A New York Times article about them reported "praise for Mr. Goolsbee’s performance from journalists at Politico, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and other outlets" [24]

Outside of the standard political news shows Goolsbee was a frequent guest on comedy shows, as well. He was interviewed by Jon Stewart for The Daily Show on August 11, 2009;[25] February 1, 2010;[26] October 25, 2010; February 24, 2011; August 3, 2011; and September 6, 2012.

He also appeared in Daily Show segments on November 11, 2009,[27] where he was interviewed by Josh Gad about whether the Cash for Clunkers program had ruined demolition derby and on March 17, 2009[28] where he said that executives at American International Group (AIG) deserved the "Nobel prize for evil" ) for their role in the 2008 financial crisis. Jon Stewart described him as "Eliot Ness meets Milton Friedman".

In 2009, he was voted the Funniest Celebrity in Washington. One practical joke was giving a dead fish to the departing White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who has been known to give dead fish to political opponents.[29]

On June 15, 2009, he appeared as a guest on The Colbert Report. He made a second appearance on The Colbert Report on October 13, 2010, where he defended Obama's tax cut policies which would allow tax breaks to expire for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year. Goolsbee's main arguments were that 98% of Americans would still receive a tax break under the Obama proposal and that the country would have to borrow money to fund tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans if all tax breaks were extended. In November 2010, however, the House of Representatives swung to a Republican majority who threatened that they would not extend the expiring tax cuts on that 98% without extending the cuts for the wealthiest 2% as well, and in December Obama signed a compromise deal to extend the cuts for all.

In January 2011, Goolsbee expressed the administration's confidence that the U.S. debt limit would be raised, noting that rhetoric from some members of Congress, who suggested the routine increase should be opposed, "[appear] to reflect a deep misunderstanding of the consequences of default".[30][31]

On June 6, 2011, Goolsbee announced that he would return to the University of Chicago.[32] He was expected to play an informal role from Chicago in Obama's 2012 campaign.[33]


Over the years he has been named one of the 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, one of the six "Gurus of the Future" by the Financial Times, one of the 40 Under 40 by Crain's Chicago Business, and one of the 30 Under 30 by the Chicago Sun-Times.[15] He topped The New Yorker's list of the Ten Most Intriguing Political Personalities of 2010.[34] named him to its list of the 15 Sexiest Men of 2010.[35] To this he remarked on NPR's quiz show Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, "I didn't even know Salon was printed in Braille."[36] Additionally, the National Speech and Debate Association (formerly National Forensic League) recognized Goolsbee, the former national champion in extemporaneous speaking, as the 2011 Communicator of the Year.[37] He was a successful debater in college. He and his partner David Gray were the National Team of the Year in 1991, defeating future senator Ted Cruz and his partner for the honor.[38]

Press profiles of him include those done by The New York Times, NPR, George Will,[39] the Financial Times,[40] Reuters TV,[41] the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business,[42] and Politico.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Goolsbee married Robin Winters on November 1, 1997. She was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company at the time and earlier the director of business development at MTV International.[44] They have a daughter, Aden, and two sons, Addison and Emmett.


  1. ^ Austan Goolsbee Archived April 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (September 2010), "Goolsbee to Chair Council of Economic Advisers", The Wall Street Journal
  3. ^ Superville, Denisa R. (December 17, 2018). "Former Obama Adviser Appointed to Chicago School Board". Education Week. ISSN 0277-4232. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  4. ^ "PERAB: First Quarterly Meeting". May 20, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  5. ^ "Births". The Alcalde. Emmis Communications. 58 (3): 45. November 1969. ISSN 1535-993X.
  6. ^ "Class of 1967". Texas Law: Alumni and Giving. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  7. ^ "Obituary of Arthur Leon Goolsbee, 1940-2021". Hamil Family Funeral Home. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  8. ^ Sibley, James Scarborough (1982). The Sibley family in America, 1629-1972: Volume 2. p. 1153.
  9. ^ "Austan D. Goolsbee". The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  10. ^ Research Fellows - Austan Goolsbee American Bar Foundation
  11. ^ Austan Goolsbee National Bureau of Economic Research
  12. ^ Panel of Economic Advisers Congressional Budget Office
  13. ^ DLC: Austan Goolsbee Archived October 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Democratic Leadership Council
  14. ^ "RELEASE: Austan Goolsbee Named Distinguished Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress". Center for American Progress. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  15. ^ a b Goolsbee's Curriculum Vitae Archived April 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ The Advisers Are Writing Our Future David Leonhardt, The New York Times, April 18, 2007.
  17. ^ Seeking Clues to Obamanomics, Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2007
  18. ^ Phillip, Abby (December 5, 2019). "Pete Buttigieg scores endorsements from former Obama officials". CNN. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  19. ^ Tankersley, Jim; Kaplan, Thomas (June 11, 2020). "Biden's Brain Trust on the Economy: Liberal and Sworn to Silence". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  20. ^ The White House. Nominations & Appointments, row 331, accessed April 4, 2011.
  21. ^ The White House (10-09-10). "President Obama Appoints Austan Goolsbee as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers,", accessed April 4, 2011.
  22. ^ Letters From Washington: On Message and On Everywhere The New York Times, Albert Hunt, June 21, 2009
  23. ^ Politico Ben Smith, March 30, 2009
  24. ^ Chan, Sewell (October 20, 2010). "White House Economist Puts Message on the Web". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  25. ^ Austan Goolsbee interviewed by Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, August 11, 2009
  26. ^ Austan Goolsbee interviewed by Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, February 1, 2010
  27. ^ Crash for Clunkers, The Daily Show, November 11, 2009,
  28. ^ The Notorious AIG - Outrage, The Daily Show, March 17, 2009
  29. ^ Knoller, Mark (October 1, 2010). "White House Staff Gives Rahm Emanuel Dead Fish as Parting Gift". CBS News. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  30. ^ Debt cap to be raised, Obama adviser says – MarketWatch
  31. ^ Montgomery, Lori (January 7, 2011). "Raise debt limit to avoid national catastrophe, Geithner warns Congress". The Washington Post.
  32. ^ "Obama's top economist returning to classroom". CNN. June 7, 2011.
  33. ^ Calmes, Jackie (June 6, 2011). "Austan Goolsbee to Leave Obama Team". The New York Times.
  34. ^ Top Ten Most Intriguing Political Personalities of 2010 Ryan Lizza The New Yorker, December 9, 2010
  35. ^ "Salon's Men on Top 2010 Archived November 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, November 17, 2010
  36. ^ [1][dead link]
  37. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 14, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ Roller, Emma (August 21, 2013). "That Time When Ted Cruz Faced off Against Austan Goolsbee in a Pickup Basketball Game". Slate Magazine. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  39. ^ "The Democratic Economist" George Will The Washington Post, October 4, 2007
  40. ^ "Green Youth and Academic Colours" Jeremy Grant, Financial Times, September 18, 2005
  41. ^ Obama's Economic Alter Ego Reuters TV, February 1, 2008
  42. ^ 40 under 40, 2006Chicago Business
  43. ^ Goolsbee Sets Populist Tone Ben Smith, Politico, March 30, 2009
  44. ^ WEDDINGS; Robin Winters and Austan Goolsbee The New York Times, November 2, 1997

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
Succeeded by
Other offices
Preceded by President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago