federal reserve

Janet Yellen: The new Federal Reserve chair

Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen © Photo by International Monetary Fund

Current position:

  • Fed chair since February 2014.
  • Fed board member through 2024.

Education:

  • B.A. in economics, Brown University.
  • Ph.D. in economics, Yale University.

Professional background:

  • Fed vice chair from October 2010 until she assumed the chairmanship.
  • Previously served as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco and as a Fed economist.
  • Professor emeritus of business administration at the University of California, Berkeley.

What kind of chairwoman will she be? "Yellen taking over is like sliding the co-pilot to the pilot's chair," says McBride, noting that she has been an advocate for the current course of monetary policy.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, adds that Yellen "leans a little bit on the side of being more tolerant of inflation in order to bring down unemployment."

As Fed vice chair, Yellen supported the positions of then-Chairman Ben Bernanke, and people assume she'll continue the Fed's easy-money policies and focus on job growth, says Edmund Moy, chief strategist for Morgan Gold in Seattle and a former director of the U.S. Mint.

"She's not known to follow any particular economic philosophy, so there's some risk there, since no one really knows what she might do," Moy says.

Yellen is the world's first woman to lead a major central bank.

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