Economist appointed adviser to Lenihan


ONE OF the country’s leading economists, Dr Alan Ahearne, has been appointed economic adviser to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, just three weeks before one of the most important budgets in the history of the State.

Dr Ahearne, who has written for The Irish Timeson economic issues over the past few years, was one of the first economists in the country to warn that the property bubble would crash, with devastating consequences for the economy.

He addressed the Fianna Fáil parliamentary annual away gathering last year and has been consulted by Mr Lenihan in recent months about the deteriorating economic situation.

Dr Ahearne is a lecturer in economics at the JE Carines School of Business and Economics at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

He also holds an appointment as a non-resident fellow at Bruegel, the influential Brussels-based economics think-tank, and is a research associate at the Institute for International Integration Studies at Trinity College Dublin. He is an invited member of the Financial Timeseconomists’ forum, the EMU monitor group of monetary experts and the RGE Europe economonitor. He is associate editor of the Economic and Social Review.

Dr Ahearne joined the staff of NUI Galway in 2005 and before that he was senior economist in the international finance division of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington DC.

During his seven years at the Federal Reserve Board, his duties included preparing notes for and presenting briefings to chairman Alan Greenspan and other board members.

He was also the principal economist at the board covering the Japanese and Chinese economies.

Dr Ahearne has taught economics at Carnegie Mellon University, University College Dublin, Dublin City University and the University of Limerick.

He began his professional career with Coopers Lybrand and also worked for Bank of Ireland Group Treasury.

Dr Ahearne’s areas of expertise are macroeconomics and international finance. His research includes studies on property markets in Ireland and other industrial countries, global current account imbalances and exchange rates, services sector growth and the economic performance of the euro area.

In addition to being published in top academic journals, his research has featured in the Economist,F inancial Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Irish Timesand Sunday Business Post.

He also writes a weekly column on property for the Sunday Independent.

He is a regular contributor on economic issues on the BBC, CNBC, RTÉ, Newstalk and Today FM.

Dr Ahearne received a B.B.S. from the University of Limerick in 1989, an M.Econ.Sc. from University College Dublin in 1991 and an M.Sc. (1995) and a Ph.D. (1998), both in economics, from Carnegie Mellon University.

At Carnegie Mellon, he received several awards and honours, including the William Larimer Mellon Doctoral Fellowship (1993-1996) and the Excellence in Teaching Award (1997).

His Ph.D. dissertation adviser at Carnegie Mellon was Finn Kydland, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2004.

The Irish Timesprofiled Dr Ahearne in November 2008, under the headline: “The economist who told you so.”