The Marketplace Report: Greenspan's Successor

Alex Chadwick talks to John Dimsdale of Marketplace about this weekend's annual central bankers' retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The bankers will assess Alan Greenspan's 18-year legacy as chairman of the Federal Reserve — and discuss possible successors.

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Back now with DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

There's a place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, called the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. They'll need it tonight for the equivalent of the Oscars for economists, an exclusive annual soiree for the business world. Central bankers, Wall Street economists, former Treasury secretaries; they'll all be there for this meeting, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Joining us is "Marketplace's" John Dimsdale in Washington.

John, this meeting is especially special for this annual meeting of the Federal Reserve.

JOHN DIMSDALE reporting:

That's right. It's most likely the last one for Alan Greenspan, who's been chairman of the Federal Reserve Board for 18 years now. His term expires in January, so there's going to be lots of talk about his legacy and whether he made the right calls when the economy was going up or down. In fact, the Greenspan era is the theme for this year's meeting. As usual, there's panel discussions, symposiums about the state of the economy and interest rate policies and all the topics that economists get excited about. Plus, this year, there's added buzz in the hallways that's prompted by Greenspan's retirement, the speculation about who his successor will be. And, you know, most if not all of the contenders will be in Jackson Hole over the next couple days.

CHADWICK: This is a very exclusive meeting.

DIMSDALE: It attracts some of the biggest names in the world of economics. The president of the European Central Bank, the governor of the Bank of England, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers from the Clinton administration are there this year. It's invitation only, and it's limited to 100 people. You've probably heard of the World Economic Forum that's held in Davos, Switzerland, every winter. Well, that's more than 2,000 movers and shakers, and it's been crashed recently by jet-setters and rock stars and movie actors. In Jackson Hole, it's much more exclusive. Even some of the most important economists who want to be there can't get an invite. It's held in a small lodge in Grand Teton National Park. There's plenty of time for hiking and fishing and recreation. I'd call it a hot ticket, but supposedly there aren't even tickets. If you have to ask, you can't get in.

CHADWICK: How about speculation on Alan Greenspan's replacement? This must be really what people are talking about.

DIMSDALE: Yes. Martin Feldstein is on most people's list. He's been around a long time, former economic adviser for Ronald Reagan; he's now the president of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Ben Bernanke is the current chief economic adviser for George Bush; he's a former Fed member. And Lawrence Lindsey, who's a former Fed member who also worked in the Bush administration.

Coming up later today on "Marketplace," we're going to see how the citrus industry is facing an even bigger threat than hurricanes. It's a little disease called the citrus canker.

CHADWICK: Thank you, John.

John Dimsdale of public radio's daily business show "Marketplace," produced by American Public Media.

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