Life and Education
Yellen was born on August 13, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated summa cum laude from Brown University in 1967 and received her Ph.D from Yale University in 1971. Both degrees were in economics.“Board Members: Janet L. Yellen,” U.S. Federal Reserve 03.09.2013 She is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel-laureate economist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, with whom she has one son. Yellen is of Jewish heritage.“U.C. Berkeley professor turns ‘lemons’ into Nobel Prize,” Jweekly.com 12.10.2001
Yellen is a professor emeritus of economics at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has been a faculty member since 1980. She also taught at Harvard University and the London School of Economics.“Janet Yellen rises to FED head challenge,” Europost 18.10.2013 Yellen has written on a variety of macroeconomic issues, with a specialisation in unemployment.
Yellen was appointed as a member of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors from 1994 to 1997. From 1997 to 1999, she served as chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and also chaired the Economic Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. From 2004 until 2010, Yellen was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
On April 28, 2010, President Obama nominated Yellen to succeed Donald Kohn as vice-chair of the Federal Reserve.“Obama Nominates Three to Fed Board,” Wall Street Journal, 29.4.2010 On October 4, 2010, Yellen was sworn in for a 4-year term ending October 4, 2014. Yellen simultaneously began a 14-year term as a member of the Federal Reserve Board that will expire on January 31, 2024.
On October 9, 2013, Barack Obama nominated her to replace Ben Bernanke as Chair of the Federal Reserve, which would make her the first woman to hold the position. President Obama noted, “She had sounded the alarm bell early about the housing market bubble and excesses in the financial markets before the recession. She calls it like she sees it.”
According to Forbes, “The appointment will make Yellen the most powerful woman in U.S. history and the only woman heading up a central bank in a major economy.”“What They’re Saying About Janet Yellen,” Forbes 09.10.2013
Yellen, a Keynesian economist, believes that people often act irrationally and that markets are imperfect and require substantial regulation. She was a strong backer of Bernanke’s expansionary policies and is said to favour extending the Fed’s stimulus campaign.“Yellen’s Path From Liberal Theorist to Fed Voice for Jobs,” New York Times 10.09.2013 Yellen also favours tough regulations on the banking sector, approving the Fed’s current course of action.Reuters 10.10.2013″>“As Fed chair, Yellen unlikely to let big banks off the hook,” Reuters 10.10.2013
She would be the first Democrat to lead the Fed in nearly three decades, and is seen as a monetary policy “dove,” particularly for her view that high unemployment is a larger threat to the nation’s economy than inflation.“Dove ascendant,” Economist 10.12.2013 She said in April, 2013, “Reducing unemployment should take center stage.”“Yellen: Fed should focus on jobs, even if inflation edges past target,” Reuters 4.4.2013
However, as the New York Times notes, Yellen’s views on monetary policy put her more in line with centrists than liberals, noting there are clear limits to her willingness to tolerate higher inflation. The Washington Post provides the example of the stance she took as a Fed governor in the 1990s, when she cautioned that unemployment was low enough that inflation should be curbed.“Nine amazing facts about Janet Yellen, our next Fed chair,” Washington Post 10.09.2013