Gramlich graduated from Williams College in 1961 and received a master's degree in 1962 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1965 from Yale University. He joined the Federal Reserve as a research economist from 1965-1970, and was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution from 1973-1976. He then taught economics and public policy at the University of Michigan from 1976 to 1997, including a term as dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and returned to Michigan as a professor in 2005.
He was appointed to the Federal Reserve System by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and resigned in August 2005. For much of his term, he was the Chair of the Board's Committee on Consumer and Community Affairs.
He was also the chairman of the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, which was created by Congress after the 9/11 attacks raised concerns about the survival of the U.S. airline industry. Gramlich had also chaired several other lesser-known stabilization boards created by Congress. In an April 2003 speech to the National Economists Club, he concluded that such boards are an ineffective way to help struggling industries because of the time it takes before help arrives and because the industries that are in need of help often have far deeper problems that the stabilization boards cannot fix.
“If Congress wants to bail out an industry in a hurry, it should bail it out. It takes time to act in this program, which means it’s probably not a good program for [emergency] scenarios”, Gramlich told the club.
Gramlich had other government experience as well, serving as chairman of the Quadrennial Advisory Council on Social Security from 1994 to 1996 and as deputy director, and then acting director, of the Congressional Budget Office in 1986-1987. He also conducted research in 1992 on the economics of major league baseball and wrote a popular textbook on benefit-cost analysis that is in its second edition.
Gramlich highlighted the problems with subprime mortgages prior to the 2007-09 financial crisis. His book, "Subprime Mortgages: America's Latest Boom and Bust" (2007) ISBN 978-0877667391 was published before the crisis was widely recognized and he had spoken out about them earlier.
Gramlich and his wife, Ruth had two children, Sarah and Robert, both married, and six grandchildren.
- August 2007 New York Times Article regarding Mr. Gramlich
- Press release concerning Gramlich's resignation from the Federal Reserve
- June 9, 2007 WSJ article about Gramlich's efforts to get Greenspan to crack down on predatory lending
- List of postings by Edward Gramlich on the Urban Institute website for "nonpartisan economic and social policy research"
- Statements and Speeches of Edward M. Gramlich