President Obama's Administration and the LSE

Peter Orszag, Paul Volcker and other alumni and associates of the LSE have been named to the Obama administration

Dr Peter Orszag, a Princeton graduate who studied economics as a Marshall scholar at the LSE, earning an MSc in 1992 and PhD in 1997, has been named Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the new US administration.   Two LSE economics professors have paid tribute to the brilliance of President Obama’s new budget director.  Peter Orszag is one of an impressive retinue of LSE alumni appointed by the new President.  Aged just 40, Dr. Orszag will be a key member of the economic team, advising on a variety of issues including federal spending programs and managing the federal budget. His job, Obama said, will be to eliminate “those programs we don’t need and insisting that those we do need operate in a cost-effective way.”

Professor Emeritus Lord Richard Layard was so impressed with Orszag’s work as a Masters student that he invited him to Moscow in 1992 in the early post-Soviet period to work on the influential monthly publication Russian Economic Trends.  "He’s very much the right kind of person for Obama, with very sensible, balanced views which are relevant to the problem in hand. I wasn’t surprised at his appointment as I felt that it was very predictable.”

Professor Danny Quah taught macroeconomics to Dr. Orszag as a PhD student in 1993 to 1994.   “I think his experience at the LSE shows that Ph.D. training is not necessarily just for preparing for a career as an academic. The knowledge we transmit and the conversations we have in the LSE economics department will transfer into the type of good policy work that Peter will do.”

Dr. Orszag’s supervisor during his Ph.D. was Charlie Bean who is now deputy governor of the Bank of England. During the Clinton administration, Dr. Orszag served as special assistant to the President for Economic Policy (1997–1998), and as senior economist and senior adviser on the Council of Economic Advisers (1995–1996).

Fellow alumni appointed to the Obama team include Peter Rouse senior advisor to the president, having served as his chief of staff when he was senator (MA 1970) and Mona Sutphen as deputy chief of staff (MSc Politics of the World Economy 1997). Also appointed was Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and head of Obama’s new economic recovery advisory board, who was a Rotary Foundation Fellow at LSE from 1951 to 1952. Larry Summers, who was a visiting academic for six months in 1987, will be head of the White House's National Economic Council. Jason Furman, who earned a masters at the LSE (MSc Economics 1993), is a senior economic adviser to Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign.