Sunday, September 15, 2013

Janet Yellen is the economists' choice

[Two] surveys of economists conducted by The Wall Street Journal—one of academics and the other of private-sector forecasters—show that many prefer [Janet] Yellen over [Larry] Summers to lead the Fed, even though, at least until recently, many expected Mr. Summers to get the job.

In the survey of academics who specialize in monetary economics, 23—or 82% of the 28 who responded—said Ms. Yellen is the better choice. Five preferred Mr. Summers.

The Journal contacted by email 85 researchers affiliated with the monetary program of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit consortium of academics that doesn't take positions on policy. Twenty eight responded. The bureau itself wasn't involved in the survey.

Ms. Yellen is also the preferred candidate of Wall Street economists. The majority of private-sector economists polled by the Journal this month—61% of the 33 who responded—said Mr. Obama should nominate Ms. Yellen. But the same group predicted by a wide margin that Mr. Summers would get the nod. Mr. Summers has a closer relationship with the president than Ms. Yellen does, and Mr. Obama has made clear he admires Mr. Summers. ...

But the tide of economist opinion—at least those speaking publicly—is against Mr. Summers for a variety of reasons. Some cited Ms. Yellen's collegial style and experience at the central bank as reason for their preference. Others mentioned Mr. Summers's reputation for being overbearing rather than collaborative, and cited his close ties to Wall Street.
--Kristina Peterson and Victoria McGrane, WSJ, on the case for Yellen