The Fed's Janet Yellen: Who is she?

Janet Yellen, said to be President Obama's choice to serve under Ben Bernanke at the US Federal Reserve, is known for supporting employment and growth over inflation-cutting measures.

Price Chambers/Reuters/File
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Janet Yellen arrives at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in this Aug. 21, 2009, file photo. Yellen is a leading contender to be nominated by President Obama as vice chair of the central bank, a senior administration official said March 12.

Janet Yellen – reported to be President Obama’s choice to be the next vice chair of the Federal Reserve – has a long résumé of government and academic work.

She has taught at the London School of Economics and chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton. Although she's known for supporting employment and growth policies over inflation-cutting measures, Dr. Yellen in her two stints as a Fed policymaker has voted with the majority on each of the 36 votes she participated in, whether the proposed measure was an increase or decease in interest rates.

If she is tapped to become vice chair under Ben Bernanke, it would mark the second time a woman has held the No. 2 post at the Fed. The first was Alice Rivlin during the Clinton administration.

Here's a look at Yellen's career and life:

Professional timeline:

2004- present, president of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

1997-99, chair, Economic Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

1997-1999, chair, Council of Economic Advisers

1994-97, member, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

1980- present, professor (now emeritus), University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business

1978 to 1980, faculty, London School of Economics and Political Science

1977 and 1978, economist, Federal Reserve's Board of Governors

1971 to 1976, assistant professor, Harvard University

Research specialties:

Yellen states that her research interests are unemployment and labor markets, monetary and fiscal policies and international trade and investment policy. Most of her work has been on unemployment and, after leaving Washington in 1999, sustainable employment.


Yellen earned a degree in economics in 1967 from Brown University in Providence, R.I. She received a PhD in economics from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in 1971.


Economics is the family business. Yellen’s husband, George Akerlof, won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001. He is also a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. For 10 years, starting in 1984, the couple collaborated frequently, publishing research first on macroeconomic theory: near-rationality and efficiency wages. They subsequently turned their attention to poverty and policy issues, such as the causes of rising out-of- wedlock childbearing in the United States.

The couple have one child, Robert Akerlof, born in 1981. He is currently a lecturer and postdoctoral associate in applied economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

– Monitor researchers Leigh Montgomery and Elizabeth Ryan contributed to this report.

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