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President Biden nominates Davidson College economics professor to powerful Fed board

Hannah Lang and Danielle Battaglia, The News & Observer on

Published in Business News

President Joe Biden nominated a Charlotte-area economist to a seat on the Federal Reserve, the White House said Friday.

Biden nominated Philip Jefferson, an economist and administrator at Davidson College, to the Fed’s influential Board of Governors. If confirmed, he would serve a 14-year term beginning Feb. 1

The president also nominated Lisa Cook, an economist at Michigan State University, and Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former deputy secretary of the Treasury under the Obama administration. Raskin would be the Fed’s top banking regulator.

Jefferson would be the fourth Black man to serve on the board. If confirmed, the picks would result in the most diverse board in Fed history.

“We are at a moment of historic economic progress alongside unique economic challenges as we work to drive our recovery forward,” Biden said in a statement.

“This is a moment that calls for sound, independent leadership from the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve,” the president said. “That is why I am proud to nominate Sarah Bloom Raskin, Lisa Cook, and Philip Jefferson, who will bring a breadth of knowledge, experience and expertise to the Board of Governors.”

A diverse Fed board

If these nominations are confirmed by the U.S. Senate it will also mark the first time an African American woman has served on the board and the first time three women have served on the board together.

“When we have leaders in the federal government that reflect the diversity of our country, it results in better outcomes for all Americans,” the White House said in a statement. “That is especially true in our economy where too many groups historically have been left behind, or left out altogether.”

The nominations came during a time when many Democrats worry that the president might be blamed for the state of the economy including rising inflation rates.

“Our economy has made enormous progress over the past year, with 6.4 million jobs created and unemployment falling to 3.9% — four years faster than projected,” the White House said. “At the same time, our economy is facing the challenge of price increases that are squeezing families’ budgets.”

The Fed holds significant sway over the American economy by setting the country’s monetary policy.

The White House said Biden is confident that the Federal Reserve will act to provide maximum sustainable employment and price stability and to make sure that price increases do not become entrenched over over a long term.

 

The Senate needs to confirm the nominations.

In a statement, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, praised Jefferson and the other two nominees.

“Throughout their long, distinguished careers, they’ve proven they understand how our economy works – and who makes it work,” Brown said. “They will also bring important perspectives to the Federal Reserve Board about the economic issues women, Black and brown workers, and rural and industrial communities across the country face.”

About Philip Jefferson

Dean Jefferson Headshot (John Crawford).JPG

John Crawford, Davidson College

Prior to joining Davidson in 2019, Jefferson held an endowed professorship at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

He’s the vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Davidson College, and holds an endowed economics professorship there, according to the college’s website. North of Charlotte, Davidson is a small liberal arts college founded in 1837. It has about 2,000 students.

In a statement, Davidson President Carol Quillen congratulated Jefferson on his nomination to the Fed. “We prepare our students for lives of leadership and service, and Philip is providing a terrific example,” Quillen said.

Jefferson could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

He also has taught at Columbia University and the University of Virginia, and previously worked as an economist for the Fed’s Board of Governors in Washington and for the Federal Reserve Bank.

Jefferson has studied subjects like poverty and unemployment, and has written a book for non-economists, “Poverty: A Very Short Introduction.”

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