Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered four lectures in a series on the Federal Reserve as part of a George Washington University School of Business class.
The series concludes with a review of some of the causes of, and policy responses to, the recent financial crisis, focusing specifically on the actions of the Federal Reserve.
The series began with a lecture on the origins and missions of central banks. The Chairman explained what central banks do, the origin of central banking in the United States, and the early experience of the Federal Reserve in dealing with a serious financial crisis: the Great Depression.
The second lecture, last Thursday, discussed the role and actions of the Federal Reserve in the period after World War II. Chairman Bernanke highlighted the role of housing prices, the real estate bubble and below-prime lending practices in creating the most recent financial crisis. He also noted the change in the role of the Fed during the tenure of his two predecessors.