Who is Janet Yellen?

Janet Yellen is now a household name now that she has been appointed a the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She had served as the vice chair making her the likely successor to Ben Bernanke. An impressive woman in a small frame is the first woman to hold this important position. In 2014 she was ranked as second most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine.

Yellen was born in New York city to Jewish parents and ended up going to Brown University ultimately getting a PhD from Yale University in economics. She is married to George Akerlof who is quite the economist in his own right.  In 2001, George won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, but one of his more popular articles is, “The Market for Lemons” in which Akerlof discusses markets with severe asymmetric information like used cars. His Nobel Prize is shared with Joseph Stiglitz who also oversaw Yellen’s PhD thesis.

After graduating Yellen went on to teach at Harvard and The London School of Economics. In the 1980’s Yellen taught and researched at UC Berkeley where her husband continues to teach.

Yellen started her career in the political realm in 1997 when she served as chair of Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors. This is the Bill Clinton that whose economic policy had one of the most popular and was liked by both parties. She eventually moved on to The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in 2004 where she, in many ways, predicted the crash as a result of the housing bubble. In fact, her predictions throughout her career have been impressive.

Wall Street Journals' Ranking of Fed Forecasters

Wall Street Journals’ Ranking of Fed Forecasters

In Wall Street Journals’ ranking of fed forecasters, Janet Yellen was number one.

In 2010, Yellen was sworn in as vice chair of the Fed by Ben Bernanke, who was the chair of the Fed at that time. Four years later Yellen was confirmed as the Fed chair.