Narayana Kocherlakota, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, officially joined the University on Jan. 1, as the inaugural Lionel W. McKenzie Professor of Economics.

Prior to  his appointment at UR, Kocherlakota held professorships at institutions including Northwestern University, the University of Iowa, Stanford University, and the University of Minnesota. Additionally, he served on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policymaking arm of the Federal Reserve System. And, notably, he led the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis for the past six years. Kocherlakota announced in late 2014 his decision to step down from the position to return to academia.

“I did a pretty extensive search among possible institutions, and this one was just an incredibly attractive opportunity,” Kocherlakota said of his decision to join the University. “It has a great department of economics, generally, but it is especially strong in my field of interest, which is macroeconomics. The honor of having a position after Lionel Mckenzie—one of the great economists of the last century—was certainly another attraction of coming here.”

UR’s doctoral program in economics was founded by Lionel McKenzie when he joined the department in 1957. He was one of the chief architects of modern general equilibrium theory, and later established the Lionel W. McKenzie Professorship.

Kocherlakota attended Princeton University for his undergraduate studies, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He then received a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago, and published over 30 empirical and theoretical articles in academic journals. His published work focuses mainly on monetary policy, business cycles, and financial economics. In 2010, Princeton University Press published his book, “The New Dynamic Public Finance.” He was named one of the top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine two years later in 2012.

Kocherlakota will begin teaching an undergraduate course in money and banking next year, along with a course for graduate students. He is currently focusing on his research. Since his work tends to be abstract, Kocherlakota explained that he will reach out to graduate students, rather than undergraduates, for internships in the future.

In a statement released by the Minneapolis Federation, Kocherlakota shared his enthusiasm about joining the University faculty, as well as for his recognition. “I am truly honored to have been selected to serve as the first Lionel McKenzie Professor of the University of Rochester,” Kocherlakota wrote. “The University has a long, rich academic history, with eight Nobel Prize winners among its faculty and alumni, and I am excited to become a member of such a distinguished institution.”

Kocherlakota intends to continue to speak and write about economic policy as a professor at UR. “I love the Meliora slogan,” he said. “I think it really just captures exactly how I want to think about my life and my research.”



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