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Benn Steil

Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics

Expertise

International finance; financial markets; economic policy.

Programs

Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies

Featured Publications

All Publications

Ask CFR Experts

Is IMF policy to blame for the prolonged eurozone economic crisis?

Asked by Maxwell Fenton, from Dowling Catholic High School

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is, with the European Commission and the European Central Bank, part of the so-called troika responsible for setting the conditions that the Greek government must meet to secure continued official financial support. Greece is the eurozone's largest IMF program beneficiary, with about Ä28 billion in outstanding loans from the IMF.

Read full answer

See more in Europe; Economics

Ask CFR Experts

How long will it take southern Europe to rebound from the eurozone crisis, and how will that affect the rest of Europe?

Asked by Jackson Ryan, from King HS

The debt crisis that has hammered southern Europe since 2010 will have long-lived economic effects, despite the moderation in Spanish and Italian government borrowing costs since the European Central Bank's "Outright Monetary Transactions" initiative last September.

Read full answer

See more in EU; Financial Crises

Book

Technological Innovation and Economic Performance

Authors: Benn Steil, David G. Victor, and Richard R. Nelson

A seminal volume bringing together the research and critical thinking of many of the world's top macro- and micro-economists to provide a unique, multifaceted perspective on the causes of technological innovation and its relationship to economic performance. Through the use of detailed, up-to-date country and industry studies, Technological Innovation and Economic Performance provides the most authoritative and detailed analysis of this topic ever assembled.

See more in United States; Economic Development; Innovation

Book

Institutional Investors

Authors: Benn Steil and E. Philip Davis

Institutional Investors is the first and only comprehensive analysis of the global economic impact of the institutionalization of savings associated with the growth of pension funds, life insurance companies, and mutual funds. It charts the development and performance of the asset management industry and analyzes the implications of rising institutionalized saving for the development of the securities trading industry, the financial sector as a whole, and the wider economy.

See more in International Law

Council Special Report No. 45

Lessons of the Financial Crisis

Author: Benn Steil

In this report, Benn Steil shows that the financial crisis is the inevitable bust of a classic credit boom, and explains how monetary, taxation, and home ownership promotion policy combined with other features of the financial system to fuel an unsustainable buildup in debt. He recommends significant reforms to reverse the debt financing bias and make the system more resilient to falls in asset prices. This report is also available in Arabic.

See more in International Finance; Financial Crises

Interview

Gauging the Dollar Decline

Interview by: Benn Steil and Roya Wolverson

CFR's Benn Steil says the dollar's continuing decline could result in higher prices for major imports like energy and, in a worst-case scenario, might lead to higher inflation and interest rates.

See more in Financial Crises; Trade

Op-Ed

What Europe Can Learn From the U.S. Bank Crisis

Authors: Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil's latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, co-authored with Dinah Walker, explains why the ECB's anticipated foray into more aggressive monetary stimulus next week won't have any significant effect on the availability and cost of private-sector credit. The ECB believes that its ongoing bank stress tests will help revive the eurozone's moribund banking industry, but they argue that the tests are counterproductive without a mechanism in place to assure sufficient recapitalization of banks that fall short—as there was in the United States in 2009.

See more in Europe; Banks and Banking

Op-Ed

How Fed Policy Roils Emerging Markets

Authors: Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil's latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, co-authored with Dinah Walker, shows that developing countries running large current account deficits have seen their economies whipsawed by volatile capital flows triggered by unconventional monetary policy at the Fed and elsewhere in the developed world. The clear lesson for such countries is that they should pursue policies which constitute "currency manipulation" in Washington, thereby setting the stage for rising global trade tensions.

See more in United States; Financial Markets; International Finance

Op-Ed

Will Greece Decide the German Elections? If So, What's Next?

Authors: Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
Forbes Online

Benn Steil's latest Forbes op-ed, co-authored with Dinah Walker, shows why Greece may turn out to be a deciding factor in the German elections. While it is widely believed that a fresh mandate for Chancellor Merkel means more robust German involvement to end the eurozone crisis, they show why the loss of her FDP coalition partner could mean the opposite.

See more in Greece; Germany; Elections; International Finance

Current Projects

McKinsey Executive Roundtable Series in International Economics

Director: Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics
September 1, 2002—Present

This speaker series features panel debates involving the world's most important economic policymakers and thinkers.

This meeting series is sponsored by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and the Corporate Program.

C. Peter McColough Roundtable Series on International Economics

Director: Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics
October 1, 1996—Present

Ten times a year, this prestigious speaker series brings to CFR a leading economic policymaker or commentator to address global issues.

This meeting series is sponsored by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and the Corporate Program.

Past Projects

High-Level Roundtable Series on American Competitiveness

Director: Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics
March 1, 2005—April 1, 2006

Made possible by the generosity of Bernard L. Schwartz, this roundtable series explores issues that affect the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Meetings have addressed issues such as the sustainability of the U.S. current account deficit, the effectiveness of the WTO dispute settlement process, and intellectual property rights.

CGS Roundtable Series

Director: Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics
December 1, 2004—January 1, 2006

This meeting series is designed to bring Council members together in a small seminar environment to discuss new and innovative thinking at the intersection of economics and foreign policy.

Recent Activity from Geo-Graphics

CFR Events

Conference Panel Session

The Future of the Eurozone

Speakers:

Jacob Kirkegaard, Research Fellow, Peter G. Peterson Institute For International Economics, Thomas Philippon, John L. Vogelstein Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Finance, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University, Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Frank Brosens, Founder and Principal, Taconic Capital Advisors
November 10, 2011 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Conference Panel Session

Currency Wars, Capital Controls, and the Outlook for the International Monetary System

Discussants:

Ajay Shah, Professor, National Institute for Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi, Alan M. Taylor, Senior Advisor, Morgan Stanley; Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for the Evolution of the Global Economy, University of California, Davis, Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Money, Markets, and Sovereignty

Presider:

Sebastian Mallaby, Director, Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, and Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics,, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
November 17, 2010

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Conference Panel Session

Currency Wars, Capital Controls, and the Outlook for the International Monetary System

Speakers:

Ajay Shah, Professor, National Institute for Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi, Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of Interntional Economics, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Money, Markets, and Sovereignty, Alan M. Taylor, Senior Advisor, Morgan Stanley; Professor of Economics and Director, Center for the Evolution of the Global Economy, University of California, Davis

Presider:

Sebastian Mallaby, Director, Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, and Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
November 17, 2010 8:00-9:45 a.m.

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Conference Panel Session

Fixing Finance: Reactions and Over-Reactions

Speakers:

Peter R. Fisher, BlackRock, Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, David S. Scharfstein, Harvard Business School

Presider:

Alan S. Murray, Wall Street Journal
May 12, 2009 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

The G-20 London Summit

Speakers:

Richard Clarida, C. Lowell Harriss Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Columbia University; Executive Vice President and Global Strategic Advisor, PIMCO, Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations
April 1, 2009 7:45-8:00 a.m. - Breakfast Reception
8:00-9:00 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

McKinsey Executive Roundtable Series in International Economics: Crisis and Capitalism: Does History Suggest Where We're Headed?

Speakers:

Michael Bordo, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Monetary and Financial History, Rutgers University, Jerry Muller, Professor of History, Catholic University of America, Robert J. Shiller, Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics, Yale University, Richard Sylla, Henry Kaufman Professor of History of Financial Institutions and Markets, New York University

Presider:

Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations
January 12, 2009 7:45-8:00 a.m. - Breakfast
8:00-9:15 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Conference Panel Session

Symposium on the U.S.-Japan Partnership, Session Two: The Global Economy - Instabilities and Reforms

Panelists:

Takenaka Heizo, Professor and Director, Global Security Research Institute, Keio University, Roger M. Kubarych, Henry Kaufman Adjunct Senior Fellow for International Economics and Finance, Council on Foreign Relations, Benn Steil, Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Paul Sheard, Former Global Chief Economist, Lehman Brothers
December 1, 2008

This meeting is not for attribution.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

The Financial Crisis: Where Do We Go From Here?

Speakers:

Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University; Chairman, RGE Monitor, Brad W. Setser, Fellow for Geoeconomics, Council on Foreign Relations, Benn Steil, Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Editor-in-Chief, U.S. News & World Report
September 25, 2008 7:45-8:00 a.m. - Breakfast Reception
8:00-9:00 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Symposium ⁄ Mineapolis

2008 Foreign Policy Symposium: Foreign Policy Challenges Facing the Next Administration

Speakers:

Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Kim R. Holmes, Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, Heritage Foundation, Michael Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
September 2, 2008

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

McKinsey Executive Roundtable Series in International Economics: The Falling Dollar - Should We Worry?

Presider:

Michael J. Elliott, Editor, Time International

Speakers:

Richard Clarida, C. Lowell Harriss Professor of Economics, Columbia University, James Grant, Founder and Editor, Grant's Interest Rate Observer, Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations, John B. Taylor, Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics, Stanford University; Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
December 18, 2007 7:45-8:00 a.m. - Breakfast
8:00-9:15 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ New York

McKinsey Executive Rountable Series in International Economics: The SEC in a Globalizing Securities Market - A Conversation with the Past Four Chairmen

Presider:

Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations

Speakers:

Richard C. Breeden, Chairman, Richard C. Breeden & Co.; former Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (1989-1993), William H. Donaldson, Chairman & CEO, Donaldson Enterprises, Inc.; former Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (2003-2005), Arthur Levitt, Senior Adviser, The Carlyle Group; former Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (1993-2001), Harvey L. Pitt, CEO, Kalorama Partners; former Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (2001-2003)
February 22, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Press/Panels

Video Interview

Tensions at the G20 Summit

As the G20 Summit continues in St. Petersburg, Benn Steil weighs in on Russian-American relations and emerging economies' concerns about shifts in U.S. monetary policy.

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Video Interview

The Fed's Communication Campaign

Benn Steil discusses the market's reaction to Ben Bernanke's announcement that the Fed may wind down its bond purchasing program.

Watch

Video Interview

G8 Summit: All Talk, No Action?

Benn Steil discusses the G8 Summit and the eurozone economy with Doug Holtz-Eakin and Jeffrey Frankel on The Kudlow Report.

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Video Interview

Who Will be the Next Fed Chairman?

Who might succeed Bernanke as the Fed's Chairman? Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the future of the Fed.

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Video Interview

Currency Wars and Establishing a New World Currency Order - Is It Possible?

With all the discussion of currency wars, BNN looks at whether establishing a new global monetary order in the fashion of Bretton Woods is ever again possible with Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White and the Making of a New World Order.

Watch

Video Interview

S&P 500 & Dow Close at Record Highs

The markets enjoyed another strong day thanks to strong economic data, reports CNBC's Seema Mody. Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, and Kyle Harrington, Harrington Capital Management, discuss.

Watch

Video Interview

Lang & O'Leary Exchange

Amanda Lang and Kevin O'Leary take you inside the business world with their trade mark thought-provoking coverage. Benn Steil dicusses the significance of Bretton Woods and why he decided to write a book about the conference. Interview begins at 33:50.

Watch

Radio Interview

Examining Bretton Woods

British dominance of global finance came to a screeching halt in the modest rooms of a hotel at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Meghna Chakrabarti, Anthony Brooks, and Benn Steil take a look at the epic showdown that took place there and what we can learn from the architects of the world's financial system.

Listen

Video Interview

Cyprus: Where Things Stand

The EU says Cyprus must put forward an alternative rescue plan, with CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera & Steve Sedgwick. Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, weighs in.

Watch

Video Interview

What's Next for Europe?

CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reports on the latest details of the impact from the Greek elections; and Andrew Busch, BMO Capital Markets and Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, weigh in. "If we don't recapitalize the Spanish banking sector, we won't have time for the types of reforms we want," says Steil.

Watch

Video Interview

Europe's Crisis Grows

Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, offers insight on what could happen next as Europe's debt crisis escalates.

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Video Interview

A Whiff of Deflation?

CNBC's Larry Kudlow discusses whether deflation could be on the horizon. Rebecca Patterson, JP Morgan Asset Management; Zane Brown, Lord Abbett; and Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, also weigh in on the markets.

Watch

Video Interview

Is There a European 'Doomsday' in the Making?

Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, discusses France's new Socialist president and Greece's political system, as voters rebel against the bitter pill of austerity and recession.

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Video Interview

Will Greek Deal Save Europe?

Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, and Dan Speckhard, former U.S. ambassador to Greece, discuss Greece's second bailout package and how it will impact Europe's ability to fix its debt troubles.

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Video Interview

Draghi: 2012 Outlook No Better for EU

Will the euro zone get its act together in 2012? Discussing what Europe needs to do to get out of trouble, Dan Greenhaus, BTIG, and Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations.

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Video Interview

Will the ECB Break Out the Bazooka?

Benn Steil, Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the EU agreement and whether the ECB will break out a bazooka and start buying up sovereign debt.

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Video Interview

Good News Out of Europe?

CNBC's Simon Hobbs has the story on France and Germany's efforts to get fiscal integration among eurozone countries. Discussing whether Europe will get it done, Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations; Andrew Busch, BMO Capital Markets; and Nicholas Burns, Harvard University professor.

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Video Interview

Is Europe Back From the Brink?

Do Greece and Italy's new leaders have what it takes to fix the eurozone crisis? Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, and Philippa Malmgren, Principalis Asset Management, weigh in.

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Video Interview

Greek Government Collapse Imminent

The government of Prime Minister George Papandreou is teetering on the verge of collapse after he abandoned the referendum on the EU package. With NBC's Michelle Kosinski; Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations; and Nick Economides, Advisor to Central Bank of Greece.

Watch

Video Interview

What's Next in the Euro Zone?

CNBC's Simon Hobbs, reports the latest details on fears that the euro summit deals are falling apart. Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, and Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard University professor, provide perspective on what needs to happen to solve Europe's growing crisis.

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Bio

Dr. Benn Steil is senior fellow and director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He is also the founding editor of International Finance, a top scholarly economics journal; lead writer of the Council's Geo-Graphics economics blog; and a consultant to institutional investors and securities exchanges. Prior to his joining the Council in 1999, he was director of the International Economics Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. He came to the Institute in 1992 from a Lloyd's of London Tercentenary Research Fellowship at Nuffield College, Oxford, where he received his MPhil and DPhil (PhD) in economics. He also holds a BSc in economics summa cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Steil has written and spoken widely on international finance, monetary policy, financial markets, and economic history. He has testified before the U.S. House, Senate, and CFTC on securities market and monetary issues. He is a regular op-ed contributor at the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and Forbes. His latest book, The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order, won the 2013 Spear's Book Award in Financial History, was shortlisted for the 2014 Lionel Gelber Prize ("the world's most important prize for non-fiction," according to The Economist), and was the top book-of-the-year choice in Bloomberg's poll of global policymakers and CEOs. The book has been called "a triumph of economic and diplomatic history" by the Financial Times, "a superb history" by the Wall Street Journal, "the gold standard on its subject" by the New York Times, and "the publishing event of the season" by Bloomberg's Tom Keene. His previous book, Money, Markets and Sovereignty, was awarded the 2010 Hayek Book Prize. Financial Statecraft: The Role of Financial Markets in American Foreign Policy was named one of the "Best Business Books of 2006" by Library Journal and an "Outstanding Academic Title of 2006" by Choice.