Janet Yellen

Chair, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System (2014–2018)

Exclusively WSB

Dr. Janet L. Yellen is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution. From February 2014 to February 2018, under the Obama and Trump Administrations, she served as chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, making history as the first woman to be appointed to that position.

Prior to her four-year term as chair, Dr. Yellen served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and, from 2004 to 2010, as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

While serving as a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors (1994–1997), Dr. Yellen was appointed by President Bill Clinton as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. From 1997 to 1999, she also chaired the Economic Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Earlier in her career, she served as an economist with the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.

Dr. Yellen enjoyed an accomplished career in academia as an assistant professor at Harvard University (1971–1976) and a lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science (1978–1980). In 1980, she joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where she was named the Eugene E. and Catherine M. Trefethen Professor of Business and Professor of Economics. Currently, she is a professor emeritus at the Haas School of Business.

A Keynesian economist, Dr. Yellen has written on a wide variety of issues in macroeconomics and labor economics. She is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has served as president of the Western Economic Association International, vice president of the American Economic Association and a fellow of the Yale Corporation.

She is the recipient of the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale, the Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics and the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government from the University of Illinois Institute of Government & Public Affairs. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Brown University, Bard College, the London School of Economics and Political Science, NYU, the University of Warwick and Yale. In 2014, she was named by Forbes as the second most powerful woman in the world, and in 2015, Bloomberg Markets ranked Dr. Yellen first on their annual list of the 50 most influential economists and policymakers.

Born in Brooklyn in 1946, Dr. Yellen was her high school valedictorian. She graduated summa cum laude from Brown University with a degree in economics in 1967. Dr. Yellen went on to receive her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1971—the only woman among that doctoral class. She wrote her dissertation under the supervision of Nobel laureates James Tobin and Joseph Stiglitz.

Dr. Yellen is married to Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof. Their son, Robert, is also an economist.