According to a Wall Street Journal article posted online this morning, the Federal Reserve chair(wo)man Janet Yellen expressed that the “economics profession … could benefit from a more diverse range of views.” Delivering introductory remarks at a conference, Yellen stated:
Did the economics profession recruit and promote the individuals best able to bring the energy, the fresh insights, and the renewal that every field and every body of knowledge needs to remain healthy?
Her answer to the rhetorical question is “no.” The Federal Reserve suffers from a discussion that lacks dissenting views. In fact, she specifically noted how the Fed would benefit from a “range of views and perspectives”:
There has been a fair amount of public debate in recent years about the health of the economics profession, prompted in part by the failure of many economists to comprehend the dire threats and foresee the damage of the financial crisis.
[...] I believe decisions by the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Open Market Committee are better because of the range of views and perspectives brought to the table by my fellow policymakers, and I have encouraged this approach to decision making at all levels and throughout the Fed system.
It seems the system is about to change. So when will we see Austrians take place on the Federal Reserve Board? Not any time soon, the “range of views and perspectives” Ms. Yellen calls for is not “views” or “perspectives” at all – but gender. She is simply working hard to find female Keynesians to take place on the Board. How that could possibly change anything is not entirely clear.