December 20, 2014
Who is Janet Yellen?
Janet Yellen was confirmed by the US Senate to become the next chair of the Federal Reserve. She will succeed Ben Bernanke when his term expires on Jan. 31.
Following are five key facts about Yellen, who is currently the vice chair at the central bank:
- Yellen, 67, would be the first woman to head the Fed and one of the few to lead a central bank of a major economy.
- She is seen as a dove on monetary policy, favoring strategies that bring down unemployment even at the risk of driving inflation higher. "When the goals conflict and it comes to calling for tough trade-offs, to me, a wise and humane policy is occasionally to let inflation rise even when inflation is running above target," Yellen said in 1995.
- She has extensive policymaking experience. Before her appointment as Fed vice chair in 2010, Yellen took part in US monetary policymaking as president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank from 2004 to 2010, and as a governor on the Fed board from 1994 to 1997. She also chaired President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 1999.
- Yellen is a widely respected economist. With a PhD from Yale, she has taught economics at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University and the London School of Economics (LSE). She has published research on topics as disparate as youth gangs, single mothers, optimal monetary policy, wage and price rigidity, and trade.
- Economics saturates her personal life as well. She is married to, and has co-authored a number of papers with, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, whom she met in 1977 when they were both economists at the Fed board. They married the following June and left the Fed to teach at LSE. Their only child, now a university economics professor, knew he wanted to go into economics by the time he was 13.