Janet Yellen

“The Fed has and must have a commitment to price stability.” ~Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen
Image: International Monetary Fund via Flickr CC

The vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve is a slight, quiet woman who happens to be a brilliant economist.  Janet Yellen is a highly distinguished economist with a respectable reputation among officials and academics.  Many followers of the U.S. economy expect her to become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, making her one of the most powerful women in the world by having significant influence of economic policy in the world’s largest economy.  Yellen has spent much of her career teaching at top level universities and working in economic policy.  She has served as vice-chairman and board member of the Federal Reserve since 2010, but spent time with the central bank in previous years as an economist and a board member.

Yellen was raised in Brooklyn and attended Brown and Yale universities to receive a PhD in economics in 1971.  She then went on to teach classes at Harvard University and London School of Economics, as well as work at the Federal Reserve.  Over her career she has been chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors and the Economic Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  She is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and has served for various other economic organizations.  She has been a faculty member and is currently professor emeritus at University of California at Berkley.

Most of her career has been focused on the causes and effects of unemployment.  She is the author of The Fabulous Decade: Macroeconomic lessons from the 1990s, published in 2001.  Her colleagues say she is methodical and convincing.  Yellen also has a reputation for humility and approachability, and eats in the Federal Reserve’s cafeteria in order to stay in touch with the employees.  Yellen was responsible for the Fed’s first publically announced economic targets and completely revamped the way the organization communicates.  If she is appointed, it is most likely the Fed will put more focus on reducing unemployment, as the topic is something Yellen is genuinely passionate about.

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