David Wessel

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David Wessel
David Wessel (14052982748).jpg
David Meyer Wessel

(1954-02-21) February 21, 1954 (age 68)
EducationHaverford College (BA)
OccupationEconomics journalist
RelativesMorris A. Wessel (father)
AwardsPulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting (1984)

David Meyer Wessel (born February 21, 1954) is an American journalist and writer. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes for journalism.[1] He is director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution and a contributing correspondent to The Wall Street Journal, where he worked for 30 years.[2] Wessel appears frequently on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.[3][4]


Wessel is a native of New Haven, Connecticut. He is the son of Morris A. Wessel, a pediatrician, and Irmgard R. Wessel, a clinical social worker.[5] Wessel graduated from New Haven's Richard C. Lee High School in 1971 and from Haverford College in 1975, where he majored in economics.[6] In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters by Eureka College.[7]

Wessel began his reporting career at the Middletown, Connecticut Press in 1975 and joined the staff of the Hartford Courant in 1977. He left Hartford in 1980 to spend a year as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.[8] He moved to The Boston Globe in 1981 and was hired in 1983 as a reporter in The Wall Street Journal's Boston bureau. He transferred to the Washington, D.C. bureau in 1987 and worked there for the duration of his time at the WSJ, except for a brief period as the paper's Berlin bureau chief in 1999-2000.[9]

On December 4, 2013, The Brookings Institution announced that Wessel would become the founding director of its new Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.[10]

Wessel and his wife Naomi Karp, formerly a senior policy analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office for Older Americans,[11] have two children, Julia and Ben.[4]


Wessel has shared two Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. In 1984, The Boston Globe and seven of its staff won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Investigative Specialized Reporting, citing a 1983 "series examining race relations in Boston, a notable exercise in public service that turned a searching gaze on some the city's most honored institutions including The Globe itself".[12] The series highlighted the persistence of racism in employment in Boston.

He and others on the WSJ staff were nominated for Public Service in 2003 but awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, citing "clear, concise and comprehensive stories that illuminated the roots, significance and impact of corporate scandals in America".[13]


Wessel is the author of several books and the editor of Central Banking after the Great Recession (2014), which features an interview between Ben Bernanke and Liaquat Ahamed as well as chapters by John C. Williams, Donald Kohn, and Paul Tucker.[14]

Prosperity: The Coming 20-Year Boom and What It Means for You (1998), co-written with Bob Davis, is a look at the prospects for the American middle class. In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic (2009), a New York Times Best Seller, chronicles the Federal Reserve's response to the financial crisis of 2007–08. Michiko Kakutani's review in The New York Times calls it "essential, lucid—and, it turns out, riveting—reading".[15] Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget is a primer on the federal budget and the deficit, published in July 2012 by Crown Business.[16] Wessel's latest book Only the Rich Can Play: How Washington Works in the New Gilded Age, the story of Opportunity Zones, was published in October 2021 by PublicAffairs. "He has a reporters eye for detail, an ability to tell the story in an exciting way, but also blends in rigorous policy analytics and a certain degree of sympathy and open mindedness--while being willing to make the calls when they are obvious," Jason Furman wrote about the book.[17]


  1. ^ "David Wessel - News, Articles, Biography, Photos". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  2. ^ "David Wessel biography page at the Brookings Institution". The Brookings Institution. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  3. ^ "Is Deficit Fever Easing?". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  4. ^ a b "David Wessel | Washington Week". PBS. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  5. ^ "City Native Expands His 'Scope'". New Haven Register. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  6. ^ "Michael Paulson '86 and David Wessel '75 Among 2003 Pulitzer Winners". Haverford College News. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  7. ^ "Eureka College graduates its largest class ever". Pantagraph. May 10, 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  8. ^ "Knight-Bagehot Fellowship : Annual Report of the Director 2010-2011" (PDF). Journalism.columbia.edu. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  9. ^ "David Wessel | 2012 Fiscal Summit". Archived from the original on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  10. ^ "Brookings Launches the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy", The Brookings Institution, December 4, 2013
  11. ^ Ann Carrns, "New Guidelines Aim to Help Financial Caregivers", The New York Times, October 31, 2013.
  12. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes | Public Service". The Pulitzer Prizes. 1985-08-02. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  13. ^ "2003 Explanatory Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  14. ^ "Central Banking after the Great Recession". The Brookings Institution. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  15. ^ Michiko Kakutani (July 21, 2009). "Inside the Meltdown: Financial Ruin and the Race to Contain It". The New York Times.
  16. ^ David Wessel (2012). Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget. New York, NY: Crown Business. ISBN 978-0770436162. Red Ink.
  17. ^ "Jason Furman's review of Only the Rich Can Play". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2022-01-02.

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