“He was not fundamentally a rat-exian,” Bernanke said, invoking the derogatory slang that Keynesians used to describe Lucas and his theory of “rational expectations.” “He was basically a Keynesian in his instincts, so he got along just fine with Samuelson and [fellow MIT professor Robert] Solow.”The profile includes some speculation that Fischer might succeed his student as Federal Reserve chair (Bernanke's term ends in Jan. 2014). If he were nominated, it would be interesting to see whether the fact that he is from outside the US - he was born in Zambia (when it was Northern Rhodesia) and came to the US for grad school at Chicago - and served as head of another country's (Israel's) central bank would cause trouble during the Senate confirmation process. It seems likely that some in the Senate would make trouble for whoever President Obama might nominate (which may be an argument for trying to keep Bernanke on), but I would guess opponents would be more likely to latch on to the fact that Fischer also held a high-ranking job at Citigroup for several years.
The fruit of Fischer’s effort to integrate the two approaches is known today as “New Keynesian” economics. It is the dominant approach in most leading economics departments, with Mankiw, Bernanke, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard and many others contributing to the movement.
But Fischer was arguably first out of the gate. He helped originate the argument that “sticky prices”— that is, practical impediments to changing prices for goods, such as the expense of printing a new restauarant menu — mean that even rational, self-interested businesses and consumers can make choices that add up to an economy much like the one Keynesians describe.
Fischer, Bernanke said, wrote “one of the very first papers that had both sticky prices and rational expectations in it.” By doing this, Fischer had in effect united the two sides of economics. “I still think Keynesian economics is extremely important, and if anybody didn’t think so, this crisis should have made them rethink,” Fischer said in an interview.
Update (2/17): David Warsh's Economic Principals also discussed Fischer as a potential Fed candidate a couple of weeks ago.