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Home >> Faculties & Departments >> Economics >> Alan Ahearne
Alan Ahearne
                                            Professor Alan Ahearne


Alan Ahearne is Professor of Economics and Director of the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

He is a  Member of the Commission (that is, the Board of Directors) of the Central Bank of Ireland. He is also Chairman of the Central Bank's Budget and Remuneration Committee and a member of the Risk Committee.

He is Chairman of the Joint Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Department of Finance Research Programme on the Macro-economy and Taxation.

He is a member of the Independent Review Group set up by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris in December 2017 to examine the removal of private practice from public acute hospitals.

He has served as external advisor to the Strategy, Practice and Review Department of the International Monetary Fund, advising IMF senior management on how the Fund could better support the efforts of countries at all levels of income to boost growth and create jobs in the period ahead. His report, " Structural Policies in IMF Surveillance", with Sir Paul Collier (Oxford University) and Dr Paul Acquah (former Governor of the Bank of Ghana) examined how the Fund’s advice on macro-critical structural issues could be enhanced.

He has served as a consultant to the UK's Department for International Development, advising on the impact of policy in developing economies.

Prior to coming to Galway in 2005, he was Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Board (below) in Washington, DC, where he worked for seven years. 

At the Fed, he advised Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke (below) and other Fed Governors on developments in the global economy. He was the principal economist at the Fed covering the Japanese and Chinese economies.

He served as Special Advisor to former Minister for Finance, the late Brian Lenihan from March 2009 to March 2011.

In this role, he advised the Minister on economic, budgetary and financial policy in responding to the economic and financial crisis. Among other things, he played an advisory role in relation to the three Budgets during this period, the National Recovery Plan, the creation of the National Asset Management Agency and other measures to address the financial crisis.

He has held an appointment since 2005 as a non-resident Research Fellow at Bruegel, the influential Brussels-based economics think tank. The University of Pennsylvania in its annual “Global Go To Think Tanks Report” for 2012 ranked Bruegel the "Best International Economic Policy Think Tank in the World."


He holds an honorary appointment as a Visiting Executive Lecturer in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

He has served as External Examiner for the MSc in Economic Policy Studies at Trinity College Dublin and Editor of the Policy Section of  The Economic and Social Review.

He was appointed a member of the Government's  Aviation Business Development Task Force for Shannon in 2012.

He 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.

His areas of expertise are macroeconomics, economic growth and international finance. In addition to being published in top academic journals, his research has featured in The Economist, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Irish Independent, Irish Times, and Sunday Business Post. He is a regular contributor on economic issues on the BBC, CNBC, RTE, Newstalk, and Today FM.

He holds 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 (below).

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 advisor at Carnegie Mellon was Finn Kydland (pictured below with George Bush), winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2004.

" The economist who told you so" is an Irish Times profile of Alan Ahearne that was published in November 2008.

An earlier profile and interview, " Ex-Fed and the unexpected " appeared in Business & Finance in January 2006. He was also profiled in the Irish Examiner (12 May 2006).

He can be contacted by phone at 353 91 494231 or by email at .