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A Remembrance of Marvin Goodfriend

November 6, 1950 - December 5, 2019

Marvin Goodfriend's former colleagues at the Richmond Fed were saddened to learn of his passing on Thursday, December 5, 2019. Most recently a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University and nominee to the Fed’s Board of Governors, Professor Goodfriend was an invaluable and influential member of our Research Department for more than a quarter-century, from 1978 to 2005.

Professor Goodfriend joined the Richmond Fed as a research economist while still pursuing his doctoral studies at Brown University. He would take on a number of leadership roles, including Research Director and trusted monetary policy advisor to our then-president, Al Broaddus. In partnership with President Broaddus, he advocated for the policy of inflation targeting, a version of which the Fed ultimately adopted in 2012. Among his other contributions to monetary policymaking, he was an early skeptic of central-bank secrecy and helped shape theory for policymaking at the zero lower bound. "It was a privilege to work with Marvin and to help him convey his seminal research and exceptional policy advice," said Broaddus. "We have lost an extraordinary contributor to monetary policy and a dear colleague and friend."

At the Richmond Fed, Professor Goodfriend advanced the role of fundamental research in policymaking, through the economists he recruited and the leading scholars he attracted as consultants to the Research department.

He is remembered by colleagues for his generosity and passion for economics. "Marvin's breadth as a scholar and willingness to engage with you was thrilling," said Kartik Athreya, the Richmond Fed's current Research Director. "My conversations with him shaped the way I think about our most important policy questions."

Before Professor Goodfriend decided to go to graduate school in economics, he spent a year in Los Angeles in pursuit of a career as a rock and roll musician while living in a friend's garage. When he gave up this quest, the loss to popular music was a tremendous gain to economics and central banking, to his future colleagues and students, and to the American people. He will be missed.


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