RAND Statement About Paul Volcker
December 9, 2019
The RAND Corporation notes with profound regret the death of Paul A. Volcker, the legendary former chairman of the Federal Reserve who became a strong national advocate for public service. He was a generous supporter of RAND and served on the nonprofit institute's board of trustees from 1993 to 2000.
“Paul Volcker regarded public service as an essential profession, and he devoted much energy to revitalizing it,” said Michael D. Rich, president and chief executive officer of RAND, the nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization based in Santa Monica, California. “His honesty and integrity also served him and our nation well during fiscally perilous times.”
In 2003, he donated $600,000 to the Pardee RAND Graduate School to fund the Volcker Initiative for Public Service, which built on the recommendations of the National Commission on the Public Service and promoted research on such issues as improving government efficiency and attracting and retaining innovative leaders.
After being appointed to the Fed by President Carter, Volcker served as the nation's central banker from 1979 to 1987. As chairman of the Fed, Volcker was widely credited with taming double-digit inflation through tight-money policies.
His nearly 30 years of government service included being appointed an undersecretary for monetary affairs at the Treasury Department during the Kennedy administration. Decades later, he became a key adviser to President Obama. Volcker's proposal to crack down on proprietary trading, commonly referred to as the “Volcker Rule,” became part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law in 2010. His ideas also spawned software called the Volcker Assistant, developed by a Wall Street law firm to help clients avoid the pitfalls of Dodd-Frank's numerous rules.
In later years, Volcker led national commissions that urged a sweeping overhaul of the federal government, focusing particularly on its organization and personnel practices. The nonpartisan National Commission on the Public Service in the late 1980s was widely referred to as the Volcker Commission and established its namesake as one of the nation's strongest advocates for public service. He later created the Volcker Alliance foundation to rebuild public trust in government and develop capable public servants at the local, state and federal levels.