Alan Greenspan


DEFINITION of 'Alan Greenspan'

The former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as well as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed's principal monetary policymaking body. His tenure at the helm of the Fed lasted 18 years from 1987 until early 2006, when Ben Bernanke replaced him. He was first appointed to the post by then-president Ronald Reagan and kept at the Fed's helm by successors George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.

BREAKING DOWN 'Alan Greenspan'

Greenspan is the first person to have been appointed to five consecutive terms as the Fed's chairman. He became known for being adept at guiding the Fed's board to consensus on policy issues and his public comments were regarded as so powerful that they could send financial markets sharply in any direction.

He was widely perceived as an inflation hawk, often criticized for focusing more on controlling prices than on achieving full employment. Greenspan also became infamous for his often technical and cautiously worded speeches, and reportedly once mocked his own speaking style during a 1988 speech in which he said, "I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I said."

  1. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board ...
  2. Federal Reserve Bank

    The central bank of the United States and the most powerful financial ...
  3. Operation Twist

    The name given to a Federal Reserve monetary policy operation ...
  4. Federal Open Market Committee - ...

    The branch of the Federal Reserve Board that determines the direction ...
  5. Hawk

    A policymaker or advisor who is predominantly concerned with ...
  6. Federal Reserve Board - FRB

    The governing body of the Federal Reserve System. The seven members ...
Related Articles
  1. Economics

    Alan Greenspan: 19 Years In The Federal Reserve

    Follow the economic glories and bumbles in the career of the previous Fed chair.
  2. Personal Finance

    How The U.S. Government Formulates Monetary Policy

    Learn about the tools the Fed uses to influence interest rates and general economic conditions.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful African Entrepreneurs

    Discover the educational backgrounds and entrepreneurial ventures of some of the most successful and well-known African entrepreneurs.
  4. Fundamental Analysis

    Emerging Markets: Analyzing Colombia's GDP

    With a backdrop of armed rebels and drug cartels, the journey for the Colombian economy has been anything but easy.
  5. Investing

    How to Win More by Losing Less in Today’s Markets

    The further you fall, the harder it is to climb back up. It’s a universal truth that is painfully apparent in the investing world.
  6. Economics

    Is the U.S. Economy Ready for Liftoff?

    The Fed continues to delay normalizing rates, citing inflation concerns and “global economic and financial developments” in explaining its rationale.
  7. Economics

    What's the 1913 Federal Reserve Act?

    The 1913 Federal Reserve Act was a pivotal congressional act that helped establish the Federal Reserve System as it exists today. It is one of the United States financial system’s most influential ...
  8. Investing News

    Could a Rate Hike Send Stocks Higher?

    A rate hike would certainly alter the investment scene, but would it be for the better or worse?
  9. Economics

    Open Market Operations vs. Quantitative Easing

    How does the Fed's implementation of Quantitative Easing differ from its more conventional open market operations?
  10. Investing Basics

    Reserve Bank of India Cuts Interest Rates

    On September 29, 2015, The Reserve Bank of India cut policy interest rates (or the repo rate) by a higher-than-expected 50 basis points, to stimulate domestic demand and to lower borrowing costs.
  1. Who decides to print money in Canada?

    In Canada, new money comes from two places: the Bank of Canada (BOC) and chartered banks such as the Toronto Dominion Bank ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Who decides when to print money in India?

    The Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, manages currency in India. The bank's additional responsibilities include regulating the ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Is Japan an emerging market economy?

    Japan is not an emerging market economy. Emerging market economies are characterized by low per capita incomes, poor infrastructure ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How is the Federal Reserve audited?

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Federal Reserve is extensively audited. Politicians on the left and right of a populist ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Who decides when to print money in the US?

    The U.S. Treasury decides to print money in the United States as it owns and operates printing presses. However, the Federal ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why do some people claim the Federal Reserve is unconstitutional?

    The U.S. Constitution does not mention the need for a central bank, nor does it explicitly grant the government the power ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!