Manuel H. Johnson was sworn in as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on February 7, 1986. He was appointed vice chairman on August 22, 1986, and left the Board of Governors on August 3, 1990.
Johnson was born in Troy, Alabama. He remained in Troy through college, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics (cum laude) from Troy University. He later attended Florida State University, where he received both his master’s degree (1974) and doctorate in economics (1977).
After graduating from college, Johnson moved to Fairfax, Virginia, and entered academia and public service. From 1977 to 1994, he was a professor of economics at George Mason University, where he held the Koch Chair in International Economics. He also worked for the Treasury Department, where he served as deputy assistant secretary (1981–82) and assistant secretary (1982–86). There, he played an important role in designing the Tax Act of 1981 and the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which was the most dramatic change in US tax law at that time. Johnson’s performance won him the department’s highest honor, the Alexander Hamilton Award.
After leaving the Board of Governors, Johnson returned to teaching at George Mason University. He sits on the Board of Visitors of the institution’s Mercatus Center, which focuses on academic research to provide market-oriented public policy solutions. In 1990, he became cochairman and senior partner at Johnson Smick International, Inc., an investment and consulting firm.
During his career, Johnson has published five books and numerous articles in academic journals. He has also edited professional journals, served as an adjunct scholar of the Heritage Foundation, and served on the board of trustees at the Center for Study of Public Choice Foundation. In addition, Johnson has served on three presidential commissions. He also has served as chairman of the Financial Accounting Foundation (1997–2004), which supervises preparation of US accounting standards.
In 2010, Troy University announced the founding of the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy. The center examines the role free markets play in promoting economic development and prosperity.
Written by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. See disclaimer.