M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Paul Sheard

DATE: November 8, 2:00 – 3:30, M-RCBG Conference Room, B-503


The 2008 financial crisis, a once or twice in a century event, has been analyzed from virtually every imaginable angle. Like the Great Depression, it is likely to continue to be analyzed and debated for decades to come. One underexplored lens on the financial crisis is provided by the transcripts of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The Federal Reserve releases these transcripts, which provide a virtually verbatim record of the Committee’s discussions and deliberations, as well background materials, five years after the end of the calendar year in question. 

Paul Sheard was Global Chief Economist of Lehman Brothers at the time of its demise. He read through all of the 2008 transcripts of FOMC meetings and conference calls after Lehman’s failure on September 15, 2008 (and many of the earlier ones that year), and presented his main take-aways in a 2014 article. 

In this Study Group, step into the boardroom with Paul Sheard, as he reviews some of the key themes and insights that emerge from the 2008 post-Lehman transcripts; he may also share one or two personal vignettes from his experience at the epicenter of the global financial crisis.   

Background reading:

Paul Sheard, 2014: “Step Into The Boardroom: The FOMC’s 2008 Post-Lehman Transcripts,” Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services RatingsDirect, March 7, 28pp

Paul Sheard, 2018: “Lehman Brothers Former Chief Economist On The 2008 Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned, Lessons Missed."

Stud Group handout HERE

Photo of Paul Sheard speakingPaul Sheard is a veteran central bank watcher and markets economist, who has written and spoken widely on QE and unconventional monetary policies. He most recently was Vice Chairman of S&P Global, after serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Economist and earlier Executive Managing Director and Chief Economist of Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services. Previously, he held chief economist positions at Nomura Securities and at Lehman Brothers and was Head of Japan Equity Investments at Baring Asset Management. Earlier, Sheard was Lecturer in Economics at the Australian National University (ANU) and Osaka Gas International Cooperation Associate Professor of Economics at Osaka University, and was Visiting Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics at Stanford University and Foreign Visiting Scholar at the Bank of Japan. Sheard is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the New Economic Agenda and was a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on the International Monetary System (2010-2012). He served on committees of the Japanese Government’s Economic Deliberation Council, as an appointee of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto (1997-98) and as an appointee of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi (1998-1999), and was a member of the oversight board of the Japanese Government’s Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (2001-2006).  From 2003 to 2010, he was a non-executive director of ORIX Corporation. In 2006, Sheard was recognized by Advance as one of a 100 Leading Global Australians. Sheard is on the board of the Foreign Policy Association and is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Economic Club of New York. He speaks regularly at conferences around the world, and his views on the global economy and policy issues are frequently cited in the international press. Author or editor of four books and numerous academic articles, Sheard’s 1997 book in Japanese, Mein Banku Shihon Shugi no Kiki: Biggu Ban de Kawaru Nihongata Keiei (The Crisis of Main Bank Capitalism: How Japanese-style Management Will Change with “Big Bang”), won the Suntory-Gakugei Prize in the Economics–Politics Division. Sheard received a BA (Hons) from Monash University and a Master of Economics and PhD in Japanese Economy from the ANU. While a Senior Fellow, he will work on a project called, “Rethinking and Retooling the Macroeconomic Policy Framework.” His faculty sponsor is Jason Furman, Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy.  Email: paul_sheard@hks.harvard.edu