Yellen to join Brookings Institution think tank after stepping down as Federal Reserve chief

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L Yellen laughs during her final news conference on Dec. 13,
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L Yellen laughs during her final news conference on Dec. 13,
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen won’t be joining the ranks of the unemployed she worked to try to reduce during her tenure leading the nation’s central bank..

Yellen, 71, whose term as Fed chief ends on Saturday, will start Monday as a distinguished fellow in residence in the economic studies program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, the think tank announced Friday.

She’ll be the second straight Fed chair to join Brookings. Her predecessor, Ben S. Bernanke, has been a distinguished fellow in residence there since 2014. Both will be part of the institution’s Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.


Brookings, founded in 1916, is one of the most prestigious think tanks in the nation’s capital. It was the first private organization devoted to analyzing public policy issues at the national level.

The nonprofit does not advocate a particular political philosophy. Among its 300 experts are Republicans, such as Bernanke and former Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), as well as Democrats, Yellen’s party affiliation.

Yellen, a former UC Berkeley professor, joins three other former Fed governors affiliated with Brookings: Alan Blinder, Donald Kohn and Alice Rivlin.

“Yellen’s expertise on such a broad range of issues — from labor economics and unemployment to monetary policy — will be an invaluable contribution to our research,” said Ted Gayer, Brookings’ director of economic studies. “Her work will no doubt enrich our efforts to research and promote polices that foster an economy that works on behalf of all Americans.”

Yellen said she looked forward to “continuing to study the economy, especially issues related to the labor market, and contributing to public policy debates on a range of economic issues.”

After presiding over her final monetary policy meeting this week, the Fed’s staff held a farewell ceremony for Yellen on Thursday.


To honor Yellen, workers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York posted pictures of themselves on Twitter with their collars up-turned, a style for which Yellen has become known.

Yellen departs after a historic tenure as the first woman ever to lead the Fed. She has drawn bipartisan praise for strengthening the economy, including helping to reduce unemployment to 4.1%, the lowest since 2000, while also starting to unwind the extraordinary steps the Fed took to fight the Great Recession.

Despite those accomplishments, President Trump opted not to renominate her to a second term. The decision meant Yellen had the shortest tenure for a Fed leader in nearly four decades.

Trump nominated Fed governor Jerome H. Powell, a Republican who has been a loyal supporter of Yellen’s agenda. He was easily confirmed by the Senate last week and will be formally sworn in as chairman on Monday.


At her last news conference as Fed chief in December, Yellen said she planned to continue living in the Washington area, where her husband, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, is a professor at Georgetown University. The couple also will keep their home in Berkeley, she said.

Twitter: @JimPuzzanghera