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From LSE to the Chair of the Federal Reserve

Janet Yellen © Federal Reserve Bank of San FranciscoProfessor Janet Yellen has been nominated to be the next Chair of the US Federal Reserve, which would make her the first woman to lead the Fed in its history.

Professor Yellen, who was nominated by President Barack Obama, is a former lecturer in the Department of Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She has recently accepted an invitation from LSE to receive the award of an Honorary Doctorate of the School, which is the highest award an individual can receive from LSE, for her distinguished record of public service.

Professor Yellen is married to Nobel Prize winner George Akerlof, who is also a former LSE professor and Honorary Graduate, making them the first wife and husband team to hold honorary doctorates from the School.

Professor Michele Piccione, head of the Department of Economics at LSE, said: “While I did not have the pleasure of working with Professor Yellen when she was at LSE it is always pleasing to hear when colleagues go on to great things and I offer my congratulations to Professor Yellen on her appointment. We were delighted when she accepted our invitation to become an Honorary Doctorate of the School and I look forward to welcoming her to the LSE for the conferment of this prestigious award next year.”

Professor Tim Besley, School Professor of Economics and Political Science, said: “Janet Yellen’s research on efficiency wages and labour markets remains a cornerstone of the economics literature in this area.”

Janet Yellen will take up the post, if appointed, in January when current Chairman Ben Bernanke’s term comes to an end. Her appointment follows months of speculation as to who would replace him, with LSE emeritus Professor Meghnad Desai among those who publicly supported Professor Yellen’s appointment.

In an article entitled ‘Janet Yellen, Best Man for the Fed’ Lord Desai wrote: “[Yellen] has come through on sheer merit. She is intellectually tough. After all, you have to be doubly smart to win a chair in any economics department if you are a woman, and a multiple of that to be Fed vice-chair. Her work in economics has been both technically good and also theoretically quite innovative… She has good communication skills and has a cool head. She is unlikely to try to dominate her colleagues but, if push comes to shove, is tough enough to let them know who is boss.”

Outgoing Federal Reserve Chair Dr Ben Bernanke is also no stranger to LSE, visiting campus earlier this year to participate in a public discussion at the School which asked What should economists and policymakers learn from the financial crisis?

Professor Yellen will receive her Honorary Doctorate at the LSE graduation ceremony in July 2014.

Professor Yellen took office as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in October 2010, and simultaneously began a 14-year term as a member of the Board. Prior to her appointment as Vice Chair, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Twelfth District Federal Reserve Bank, at San Francisco. Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, she taught at LSE from 1978–1980.


9 October 2013