Government: To & from Harvard In The Middle of the Road

Three years ago, Harvard Economics Professor James Stembel Duesenberry declined an invitation to join the nation's most influential body of economic consultants, the three-member White House Council of Economic Advisers. He pleaded that he was too busy with a half-finished research project on U.S. capital markets. Last week the invitation came again—and this time Duesenberry accepted. "This isn't the year to say 'let somebody else do it,' " he says. "The problems are not going to be simple."

True enough. Duesenberry, 47, will arrive in Washington at a pivotal time in the council's 19-year history: just when the economy needs...

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