William White (economist)
William R. White (born 1943 in Kenora, Ontario) is a Canadian economist educated at the University of Windsor and the University of Manchester. He is famous for flagging the wild behaviour in the debt markets before the global storm hit in 2008 (Great Recession).
In 1969, he began his career as an economist at the Bank of England, the central bank of the United Kingdom. In 1972 he joined the Bank of Canada, the central bank of Canada, where he spent 22 years. His first six years at the Bank of Canada were with the Department of Banking and Financial Analysis, first as an economist and finally as Deputy Chief. In 1978, White became Deputy Chief of the Research Department and was made Chief of the Department in 1979. He was appointed Adviser to the Governor in 1984 and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada in September 1988.
In 1994, he joined the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the Swiss-based bank of central banks, as manager in the Monetary and Economic Department. From May 1995 to June 2008, he served as its Economic Adviser and Head of the Monetary and Economic Department.
He predicted the financial crisis of 2007–2010 before 2007's subprime meltdown (Subprime mortgage crisis). He was one of the critics of Alan Greenspan's theory of the role of Monetary Policy as early as 1996. He challenged the former Federal Reserve chairman's view that central bankers can't effectively slow the causes of asset bubbles. On Aug. 28, 2003, White made his argument directly to Greenspan, at the Kansas City Fed's annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. White recommended to "raise interest rates when credit expands too fast and force banks to build up cash cushions in fat times to use in lean years." Greenspan was unconvinced that this would work and said: "there has never been an instance, of which I'm aware, that leaning against the wind was successfully done"
He retired from the BIS on 30 June 2008.
In October 2009 he was appointed chairman of the Economic and Development Review Committee at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. This committee carries on regular evaluations of the policies of both member countries and aspiring members of the OECD. In his capacity as chairman, he also contributes to meetings of WP1 and the Economic Policy Committee of the OECD. He was a member of the Issing Committee, advising the German chancellor on G-20 issues.
William White has published articles on topics related to monetary and financial stability as well as the process of international cooperation in these areas.
- Biography at the Bank for International Settlements
- personal website
- Beat Balzli, Michaela Schiessl: The Man Nobody Wanted to Hear: Global Banking Economist Warned of Coming Crisis. Spiegel Online, 2009-7-8