Austan Goolsbee

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Austan Goolsbee 2.jpg
BornAustan Dean Goolsbee
Waco, Texas, U.S.
Alma materMilton Academy, Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SpouseRobin Winters
Member ofSkull and Bones, WEF/Global Leaders for Tomorrow/2002, WEF/Young Global Leaders/2005
Skull and Bones economist. Obama advisor. One of the WEF's 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow. Fan of heavy COVID-19 bailouts

Employment.png Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers

In office
September 10, 2010 - August 5, 2011

Austan Dean Goolsbee is an American economist. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business[1], the home of the ('Chicago Boys'). Goolsbee formerly was the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.[2]

Goolsbee served on the three-member Council of Economic Advisers from the start of the Obama Administration. He advised President Obama during his 2004 U.S. Senate race and was senior economic policy adviser during the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign. He took over in September 2010 as the Council's chair, replacing Christina Romer, who had left to return to a teaching position at the University of California at Berkeley.[3] On June 6, 2011, he announced that he was departing the administration and returning to the University of Chicago.[4] In 2013, he became a strategic partner at 32 Advisors,[5] where he leads their Economic Intelligence practice.[6]

In 2019, he endorsed Pete Buttigieg in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[7]

Early life and education

Goolsbee was born in Waco, Texas, the son of Linda Catherine (née Dean) and Arthur Leon Goolsbee. He was raised primarily in Whittier, California.

He graduated from Milton Academy and received both his B.A. summa cum laude and M.A. in economics from Yale University in 1991 and went on to receive his Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (2000–02) and Fulbright Scholar via the Fulbright Commission Belgium (2006–07).[8]

At Yale, Goolsbee was a member of the Yale Political Union, Skull and Bones, and the Yale Debate Association. He and debate partner David Gray won the American Parliamentary Debate Association National Debate Team of the Year competition in 1991 defeating Ted Cruz who, once Goolsbee graduated, would go on to win in 1992 with partner David Panton. Goolsbee and partner Dahlia Lithwick were runners up for the award in 1990.As a high school student, Goolsbee won the national championship in International Extemporaneous Speaking (IX) in 1987.


Goolsbee has been a Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation,[9] Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts,[10] and a member of the Panel of Economic Advisors to the Congressional Budget Office.[11] He was Senior Economist to the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI).[12]

Goolsbee's academic research focuses on the Internet, the new economy, government policy, and taxes. He taught a class on economics and policy in the telecom, media and technology industries. He focuses on human activity in natural settings to find economic explanations for how people behave.[13]

Goolsbee worked in corporate media 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. 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.[14]

Public service

Support of Barack Obama's campaigns

Goolsbee became Barack Obama's economic advisor for Obama's successful 2004 U.S. Senate campaign in Illinois. He was also the senior economic advisor to the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.[15][16]

At one point during the primary of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, Goolsbee was alleged to have told Canadian consular officials in Chicago that Obama's political position on the North American Free Trade Agreement was "more reflective of political maneuvering than policy."[17][18] The allegation was denied by Goolsbee, the Obama campaign, and the Canadian government.[19] Goolsbee remained Obama's senior economic adviser through the rest of the primary and the general election including many television debates with John McCain's economic advisers.

Service in Obama administration

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 was chief economist 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 was a media surrogate for the Obama Administration and his skill on television was noted in the media.[22][23]

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".[24][25] Goolsbee agreed with Tim Geithner and numerous conservative commentators "that the debt ceiling must be allowed to rise", commenting that "playing chicken" with a default of government liabilities could have a catastrophic impact on the U.S. economy.[26][27] He noted that the Obama administration sought to fuel economic growth during the continuing gradual recovery by "focusing on spurring investment and improving U.S. exports and innovation" but noted that "in the medium run, a series of tough choices" would need to be made and that the president's budget would indicate his willingness to make budget cuts a part of the long-term plan.[28]

On June 6, 2011, Goolsbee announced that he would return to the University of Chicago, saying that the economy was "a million miles from where it started". [4] He was expected to play an informal role from Chicago in Obama's 2012 campaign.[29]


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.[14] He topped The New Yorker's list of the Ten Most Intriguing Political Personalities of 2010.[30]

Press profiles of him include those done by The New York Times, NPR, George Will,[31] the Financial Times,[32] Reuters TV,[33] the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business,[34] and Politico.[35]

Personal life

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.[36] They have a daughter and two sons.


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/201231 May 20123 June 2012US
The 58th Bilderberg, in Chantilly, Virginia. Unusually just 4 years after an earlier Bilderberg meeting there.


  4. a b
  9. Research Fellows - Austan Goolsbee American Bar Foundation
  10. Austan Goolsbee National Bureau of Economic Research
  11. Panel of Economic Advisers Congressional Budget Office
  14. a b
  15. The Advisers Are Writing Our Future David Leonhardt, The New York Times, April 18, 2007.
  16. Seeking Clues to Obamanomics, Deborah Solomon, The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2007
  17. Luo, Michael (March 4, 2008). "Memo Gives Canada's Account of Obama Campaign's Meeting on Nafta," The New York Times, accessed April 4, 2011.
  18. Austen, Ian (March 7, 2008). "Trade Pact Controversy in Democratic Race Reaches Into Canadian Parliament ," The New York Times, accessed April 4, 2011.
  19. Did Clinton Win Ohio on a Lie? Paul Loeb, Huffington Post, March 6, 2008
  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. Debt cap to be raised, Obama adviser says – MarketWatch
  27. First Read – Obama admin. confident Congress will raise debt ceiling
  30. Top Ten Most Intriguing Political Personalities of 2010 Ryan Lizza The New Yorker, December 9, 2010
  31. "The Democratic Economist" George Will The Washington Post, October 4, 2007
  32. "Green Youth and Academic Colours" Jeremy Grant, Financial Times, September 18, 2005
  33. Obama's Economic Alter Ego Reuters TV, February 1, 2008
  34. 40 under 40, 2006Chicago Business
  35. Goolsbee Sets Populist Tone Ben Smith, Politico, March 30, 2009
  36. WEDDINGS; Robin Winters and Austan Goolsbee The New York Times, November 2, 1997