Janet Yellen, 1946

  • Janet-Yellen-WWP

Woman Category: Academy & Education, Business & Entrepreneurship, and Economics & FinanceWoman Tags: Economist and WDC Metro Area Women

  • HerStory

    An American economist and the first woman to serve as the Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, and the first woman Secretary of the Treasury.

    Janet Yellen was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City, to parents of Polish-Jewish descent. After graduating valedictorian from Fort Hamilton High School, she attended Pembroke College in Brown University, where she studied philosophy before switching to economics. Yellen continued to Ph.D. in economics at Yale University, the only woman in her class. She then worked as an assistant professor at Harvard, and later on as an economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. At age 32, she moved to London for a couple of years to lecture at The London School of Economics and Political Science. On her return to the US, she became a faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley.
    At age 48, Yellen took leave from Berkeley for a few years to serve as a member of the Board of Governors, 3 years later she was appointed as the head of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. In that position, she oversaw a study that explored the reasons for the gender pay divide, concluding the pay gap is a result of discrimination and not productivity. In 2004, she was nominated as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. As such, she often spoke about her concern about the consequences of rising housing prices.
    In 2010, Yellen was nominated by President Obama as the vice-chair of the Federal Reserve System. During her term, she advocated for the Federal Reserve to risk higher inflation to reduce unemployment. Four years later, she was nominated by President Obama as Chair of the Federal Reserve, the first vice-chair to be elevated, the first woman in this position, as well as the first Democrat to run the Fed since 1979. Once in office, she began to reverse some of the policies endowed after the mortgage crisis of 2008. Her tenure is recognized for growth in job and wage while maintaining low-interest rates – the greatest improvement in the US since 1948.
    When her term ended in February 2018, she became a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. In December 2020, the president-elect Joe Biden has nominated her to be the first woman Secretary of the Treasury.

    “Listening to others, especially those with whom we disagree, tests our own ideas and beliefs. It forces us to recognize, with humility, that we don’t have a monopoly on the truth.”

    “Listening to others, especially those with whom we disagree, tests our own ideas and beliefs. It forces us to recognize, with humility, that we don’t have a monopoly on the truth.”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She collects rocks since the age of 8 and has a collection of more than 200 specimens.
    • She plays the piano.
    • She wrote her doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Nobel laureates James Tobin and Joseph Stiglitz.
    • She is married to George Akerlof, a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics.
    • Her son is also an Economics professor.
    • She is considered a Keynesian economist, advocating for the use of monetary policy to stabilize economic activity over the business cycle.
    • She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    • Throughout her career, she published articles on various of topics, focusing mainly on macroeconomics and unemployment dynamics.
  • More About Her Legacy

    * The Haas School's outstanding teaching award - Awarded twice
    * Yale's Wilbur Cross Medal (1997)
    * Honorary Doctor degrees from Yale, NYU, Brown University, Bard College, the University of Warwick, and the London School of Economics and Political Science
    * The Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics (2010)

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Booking.com

  • Janet Yellen: A matter of interest

    Correspondent Rita Braver sits down for an exit interview with Janet Yellen, the outgoing chair of the Federal Reserve, to talk about her trailblazing career, the state of the economic recovery following the Great Recession, and leaving a job she loves too soon.

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  • Yellen speaks at FOMC press conference in 2014. Photo credit - Wikipedia

  • Citations and Additional References:
    World Bank website.
    Credit Suisse website.
    Wikipedia page.