Paul A. Volcker was born in Cape May, New Jersey. He received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Public Administration. Throughout his career, he also received honorary degrees from numerous institutions, including Adelphi University, University of New Hampshire, and Dartmouth College.
Mr. Volcker first served the Federal Reserve as an economist from 1952 until 1957, when he left for a position with Chase Manhattan Bank. In 1962, he became Director of the Treasury’s Office of Financial Analysis. The following year Mr. Volcker transitioned to Deputy Undersecretary for Monetary Affairs. In 1965, he left public service to return to Chase Manhattan Bank as a Vice President. He remained with the firm until 1969, when he rejoined the Treasury as Undersecretary for Monetary Affairs. During his five years in the post, Mr. Volcker brought about many changes to the international monetary system. In 1974, he left the Treasury for Princeton, where he was a visiting fellow.
In August 1975, Mr. Volcker was named President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. There, he was actively involved with monetary policy decision-making processes and became a proponent of monetary restraint.
In 1979, Mr. Volcker was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as Chairman of the Board of Governors, where he served for two terms.
After leaving the Board of Governors, Mr. Volcker served as Chair of the National Commission on Public Service. In 1988, he became Chair and part owner of James D. Wolfensohn, an international financial services firm. From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Volcker was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Accounting Standards.
Mr. Volcker also served as a Chairperson of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board from 2009 to 2011. In that role, Mr. Volcker made a significant contribution to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by introducing the “Volcker Rule.” The provision prohibits banking entities from engaging in proprietary trading in securities, derivatives, or certain other financial instruments and from investing in, sponsoring, or having certain relationships with a hedge fund or private equity fund.
Mr. Volcker is a member of numerous public-policy organizations, including the Japan Society, the Institute of International Economics, and the American Assembly.
He has two children from his first marriage and is currently married to Anke Dening.