Sarah Binder: Why Janet Yellen’s Public Approval Matters

John Hudak
John Hudak
John Hudak Former Brookings Expert, Director of the Office of Cannabis Policy - Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services

February 11, 2014

On the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog today, Sarah Binder suggests that Janet Yellen, the new chair of the Federal Reserve, faces a political challenge as part of her job of guiding the nation’s monetary policy. Public approval of the outgoing chair, Ben Bernanke, was relatively low compared with his predecessor Alan Greenspan. Public opinion of the Fed can shape the effectiveness of its policies—greater confidence can allow for more autonomy, while a skeptical public may erode the Fed’s resolve to make hard choices.

But snapshots of public opinion don’t reveal everything. In her post, Binder looks at every poll available in the Roper Center’s Public Opinion Archives that touches on public approval or confidence in the Federal Reserve, and highlights three trends in the data:

  1. Pollsters periodically ignore the Fed
  2. Bernanke fared better than Paul Volcker
  3. The state of the economy naturally shapes public approval of the Fed

Read the full article, “Why it matters what the public thinks of Janet Yellen,” on the Monkey Cage.

For more information on the event “Central Banking After the Great Recession,” that Binder discusses in the article, click here.