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If you’re economist, you know her to be a pragmatic, centrist expert on Great Depression era economic policies. And if you’re an American, well, hearing about her background should make you confident that she’s the right person to help pull us out of this downturn.

Politico gets to know the new Council of Economic Advisers Chair…

Christina Romer, 49, has known several members of Obama’s inner circle for years. As a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she was a favorite of a young assistant professor named Lawrence Summers. And this week, Obama picked Summers, a former Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, as a top White House economic adviser. […]

She burst into the economic scene with her doctoral dissertation that fundamentally changed how economists viewed the Great Depression.

Economics data indicated that the business cycle before the Great Depression was much more volatile than the economy after World War II. Economists widely assumed the data demonstrated the success of the post-Depression stabilization policies. Romer proved them wrong by showing that what seemed like a decrease in market volatility was really due to improved data collection.

Since then, she’s done extensive work researching the causes of the Great Depression and the roles that fiscal and monetary policy played in the country’s economic recovery. More recently, she has focused on the impact of tax policy on economic growth in papers co-authored with her husband.

Her findings have been cheered on both sides of the aisle. In a November 2008 paper, the Romers [ her husband is David is a tenured professor along with her at Berkeley] concluded that tax cuts can increase economic output, a finding cheered by in low-tax, Republican circles.

Centrists…are you getting happy yet?