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Darla Moore School of Business

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Finance professor’s research informs policy to mitigate impacts of crises

Finance professor Allen N. Berger’s research explores patterns and business analytics from previous financial and banking challenges and successes to help inform bank and government leaders and finance scholars about future crises to avoid events like recessions or depressions. In recognition of his research expertise, Berger was recently ranked No. 5 on’s list of Top Economics and Finance Scientists.

The H-Index rankings employed are usually seen as the best statistics for comparing scholars within a field;’s ranking that includes Berger covers the broad fields of economics and finance combined.

Berger, who prefers that the spotlight not be put on interpersonal comparisons, stresses that research is a joint activity that requires input from many individuals and institutions. To the extent that credit is given for a statistic, Berger said that it shows the world that the Finance Department, the Darla Moore School of Business and the University of South Carolina all have some legitimate claim on thought leadership, a key component of educational function and service to society.

Why Berger’s research matters:

  • Research by scholars like Berger inform finance and banking policy so that the likelihood and severity of major crises like the 2007-2009 Global Financial Crisis might be reduced. One of Berger’s books, TARP and other Bank Bailouts and Bail-Ins around the World: Connecting Wall Street, Main Street, and the Financial System, examines historically common government bank bailouts and the newer concept of private sector bail-ins of struggling banks. The book is based on his own research with co-authors as well as more than 500 other research publications. The book provides a policy guide that suggests how policies might best help protect the financial system and real economy under different circumstances.
  • Examples of how informed policy can have socially favorable results, Berger’s and colleagues’ research point to the roles of policy in the COVID-19 crisis. In “Banking research in the time of COVID-19” Journal of Financial Stability publication, Professor Berger and his co-author attribute the “economic surprise” of the short recession to policy lessons learned. The speed and size of U.S. stimulus programs during COVID-19 combined with the prudential policies in place since the Global Financial Crisis that fortified banks helped make the COVID-19 economic event the shortest U.S. recession on record at only two months and left the banking industry largely intact.
  • Berger regularly co-authors his scholarly articles with young and up-and-coming scholars who are learning to do research, and in many cases, become important thought leaders on their own. Berger has been mentoring Ph.D. students, research assistants, government economists, and economics and finance professors from around the world for decades and has contributed to the research acuity of dozens of prominent finance scholars.
  • Berger also stresses the crucial roles of research in education. “Research is needed to constantly refresh the teaching of both the undergraduate and graduate students with the latest findings on the topics of the classes,” he said.

About Allen N. Berger:

  • Berger joined the Moore School’s finance department in August 2008 as the H. Montague Osteen, Jr., Professor of Banking and Finance, and was later named a Carolina Distinguished Professor, an honor reserved for leading faculty at the university.
  • Over the course of his almost 40-year career, Berger has produced 30 scholarly journal articles with more than 1,000 citations and close to another 20 with more than 500 citations according to Google Scholar, generally considered the best indicator of the research impacts of individual scholarly articles.
  • Berger has an overall total of close to 130 refereed scholarly journal publications; he has also completed five research books and many other book chapters and research publications.
  • His research covers a variety of topics related to banking that essentially cover the waterfront in terms of economic and financial issues.
  • Berger teaches banking courses at both the undergraduate and Ph.D. levels and also designed and teaches a research course for Ph.D. students.
  • His Ph.D. classes are attended by students from three different Moore School departments; he serves as an advisor and dissertation committee member to Ph.D. students in multiple Moore School departments and at other universities around the world. Berger was named Professor of the Year for 2015-16 by the Moore School’s Doctoral Students Association.
  • He has won numerous best paper awards from research journals and conferences and has given keynote addresses on five continents. Berger has frequently been a visiting scholar at Federal Reserve Banks and central banks and universities in other nations.
  • Berger and fellow Moore School Finance professor Donghang “DH” Zhang founded, direct and raise funds for the Center for Financial Institutions, which facilitates frontier research and education on banking and other financial institutions.
  • Berger is 2022 President and Conference Program Chair of the Financial Intermediation Research Society, a global research organization; a senior fellow at the Wharton Financial Institutions Center; fellow of the European Banking Center; and is on the editorial boards of eight major research journals. He is also co-editor of eight special issues of four different research journals and co-organizer of numerous research conferences. He helps Professor Hugh Kim and other Finance Department colleagues organize the annual Fixed Income-Financial Institutions conference.
  • Berger earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University and a master’s and doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a senior economist for the Federal Reserve Board prior to his arrival at the Moore School.

Learn more about Allen N. Berger.

Berger’s gratitude for the support from others:

  • “I am particularly grateful to Monty Osteen, who provided the funds for my endowed chair. He has continued to provide more funding over time for other things when I have asked him to help, and he is also a great friend.”
  • “I have never had the pleasure of meeting Darla Moore, but of course we are all very grateful for the enormous support she has provided for the school. I am not sure that all of the donors realize how much good that they do by supporting research but let me thank all of them for what they do to contribute to the school’s success.”
  • “I am also very appreciative of former Moore School Dean Hildy Teegan, former Associate Dean Greg Niehaus and former Finance Department Chair Tim Koch, who took chances on hiring a government economist with almost no teaching experience. I’m also grateful for current Dean Peter Brews, Associate Dean Mark Ferguson and Finance Department Chair Eric Powers, who continue to support me. I am also appreciative of all my department chairs and colleagues in the Finance Department and Moore School over the years who pretty much let me do my own thing, the key input that we all need to achieve.”
  • "My co-authors deserve enormous credit. I cannot mention them all, but here are a few select ones:
    • Greg Udell (20 joint publications) who first taught me about bank lending;
    • Dave Humphrey (17) who hired me for my first economist job at the Federal Reserve;
    • Raluca Roman (13) my first Ph.D. student at the University of South Carolina
    • Christa Bouwman (7) my former intern who connected me with the Moore School."
  • “I especially want to express gratitude to my wife, Mindy Ring, who has put up with me for over 40 years. I dedicate all my books to her, but that really isn’t enough.”

Ongoing research:

Berger is working on a new book on the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the real economy, banking industry and financial system, along with Moore School Professor Mustafa Karakaplan and Berger’s former Ph.D. student Raluca Roman, currently Senior Financial Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

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