Janet Yellen is the Chair of US Federal Reserve and is the first woman to hold this position. She has been in the news because of the Fed’s announcement that it will increase interest rates for the U.S. economy this year.
An increase in interest rates will have widespread repercussions on the global economy. It will mean less foreign direct investment in emerging markets and a depreciation in emerging market currencies, which will have an impact on global markets.
After the first rate hike in December last year, the Fed projected four rate hikes for 2016, but has not implemented even one so far.
On Friday, Yellen announced that the US may need to run a ‘high pressure economy’, i.e keeping interest rates low in order to let the market overheat to create more jobs and economic activity.
Here are ten things to know about the Chair of one of the world’s most important financial institutions.
1. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Brown University. She completed her PhD from Yale University in Economics.
2. She chose to become an economist after attending a lecture by Nobel Prize winner, James Tobin, in which he advocated that governments should come out of recessions by spending aggressively. “There was something about [Tobin’s] strong sense of morality and social responsibility that greatly impressed me,” Yellen told Reuters in an interview. Tobin went on to become her PhD advisor at Yale.
3. She has taught at some of the world’s best institutions– Harvard, London School of Economics and the University of Berkeley”s Haas School of Business.
4. Her research focuses on how economics drives behaviour. She has published a seminal study on single motherhood. For Yellen, economics is about real lives.
5. She is married to a Nobel Prize winner, George Akerlof.
6. She became the President of the Federal Reserve in San Francisco in 2004. “People became much more ambitious when she got there,” visiting scholar, Justin Wolfers, told Bloomberg.
7. She was made vice-chair of the Fed Reserve System under Ben Bernanke in 2010, and remained in that position till she became Fed Chair in 2013.
8. She has been describes as ‘tough’ and extremely hard working. Her former classmate, Charles Saydah, tells Bloomberg that she used to often skip out of college parties, since she was more focused on her work. “She was more intent on getting wherever it was she’d decided she was going,” he said. if anyone is prepared for a fight, it’s the diminutive Yellen.
“Janet is very tough – tough in her views and tough in her independence,” Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a friend and former Clinton administration official, told USA Today.
9. She has a stamp collection that is worth anywhere between $15,000 and $50,000, reports The Washington Post.
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