Nearly 80pc of economists believe that Bernanke's QE1 will be seen positively by the history books

It's often said that it's hard to find agreement among economists.

That's taken to be especially true when you approach the more heavily politicised areas of the discipline - such as macro policy.

So that 78 per cent of economists agree with this statement is quite a surprise:

Informed postmortems of Ben Bernanke’s Fed chairmanship will judge favorably the Fed's creative and aggressive policy initiatives from autumn 2008 through early 2009.

41 per cent of economists polled by the IGM Forum said that they "strongly agree", while 37 per cent said they agree.

Even more shocking is that none disagreed with the statement. Just 11 per cent were "uncertain", while two per cent held "no opinion".

As governor of the Federal Reserve, Bernanke saw the central bank introduced the first round of quantitative easing - what is now known as QE1 - which was widely thought to have supported the economy as demand collapsed.

Stanford's Darrell Duffie said that "strong action as a lender of last resort was essential." He argues that this is precisely what central banks are there to do, and that "innovation by the Fed was crucial".

One respondent, Chicago's Anil Kashyap says that while the "public may not appreciate this ... Bernanke's Fed helped stave off Depression 2.0."

But some of those polled warned that it is difficult to determine what economists might say in the future - or that there could even be an "informed postmortem". Harvard's David Cutler submitted that "there is little agreement in macro."

And Berkeley's Aaron Edlin says that "future views of the past are hard to predict with precision", but that "things would probably have been much worse without the Fed's actions".

Princeton's Markus Brunnermeier said that "the ultimate judgement will depend on the exit strategy and how easily the fed will return to a more rule-based policy."

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