Feminist economics posts

The Yellen Project

Public domain, per correspondence with the Federal Reserve.

Tue. Sept. 3Heidi Hartmann contacts me to see if I want to run a petition drive with her; I agree to draft a letter for economists to sign supporting Janet Yellen for U.S. Federal Reserve Chair.

Wed. Sept. 4:  Worry we are too far behind the curve to have much effect at this point as reports indicate a Larry Summers nomination is forthcoming, but nonetheless write draft.

Thu. Sept. 5:  Work on redrafting and contacting potential early signers.

Fri. Sept. 6:  Line up first major signer (Alan Blinder), continue talking with others; some not willing/able to sign due to government jobs, jobs where one should stay nonpartisan, etc.  One insider friend believes that the recent news stories about Summers being the frontrunner were planted by Summers’ friends, and that support in Congress is tenuous.  Ray of hope.

Sat. Sept. 7:  Work on getting website and email address up, continue to line up support of early signers (ended up with 12).  One suggests we invest in a professional website and letter campaign; we point out we have no financial backing (total out-of-pocket cost of project:  about $200 in overtime pay to two of Heidi’s Institute for Women’s Policy Research staffers).

Sun. Sept. 8: Go live—email 410 economists.

Mon. Sept. 9: Spend large amounts of time collecting and verifying signers’ identities as signatures arrive.  Send out more emails (I send emails to a total of 532 economists over the week, and Heidi to many others).  Others, including several of our early signers, forward the emails; the link is on IAFFE-L, Femecon-L, and the URPE listerv.  Many US-based feminist economists sign.  Women’s E-news is the first media outlet to contact us.

Tue. Sept. 10:  More press notice, including Wall Street Journal.  Already have over 300 signers.

Wed. Sept. 11:  Numerous news reports start appearing, including Associated Press.  Other news sources, including CNN and Bloomberg, contact us for interviews.  Heidi informs her White House contact that the letter is coming.

Fri. Sept. 13: Format letter to send to White House, figuring we have to beat any announcement from the White House regarding nominating Summers.  But several Democratic senators announce they do not support Summers.  Coincidence?

Sun. Sept. 15:  Summers announces he is stepping down from potential nomination.

Mon. Sept. 16:  Another round of press contacts asking us to comment.

Wed. Sept. 18: We send the final version of the letter to the White House, with 505 signatures.

Fri. Sept. 20:  Indications in media and through back channels that Yellen is now sole candidate and that final vetting is underway.

Wed. Oct. 9:  Although the Federal government has been shut down since October 1st (not to reopen until October 17th), one important piece of government business occurs:  President Obama nominates Janet Yellen.

To read the open letter sent to the White House, click here: LETTER

To see a recent article about the import of this nomination, click here: ARTICLE

 

Quote from poster on Econjobrumors site (before September 15th):

“What’s amazing is these ‘economists,’ many of them very famous, think this stupid petition will do anything at all.

It won’t.”

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3 comments
  1. Nina Eichacker says: November 5, 201311:19 pm

    Wonderful — particularly with the context of ‘econ bro’ sexist post on the internet. Small actions that snowball can indeed be effective, and I’m so happy you two initiated this!

  2. Raj says: November 11, 201310:22 pm

    I think this story, as told through the timeline, is very inspiring.

  3. Irene van Staveren says: December 2, 201310:03 pm

    It is the first time for me to refer to labour economics ideas (efficiency wages) from a central bank president. Yellen is not only a woman. She also brings a labour dimension to the FED. That is quite unique, I think, also outside the US.

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