NEA Statement in Support of Drs. Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson

The National Economic Association (NEA) wishes to express its support for the historic nomination of Philip Jefferson to serve for Vice Chair and the renomination of Lisa Cook for an additional full term as a member on the Federal Reserve Board. Drs. Cook and Jefferson are both past presidents of the National Economic Association. The renomination of Lisa Cook is particularly significant as the first Black woman to be appointed to the Federal Reserve Board in its 109-year history.

The nomination of two African American economists to serve on the Federal Reserve Board is a welcome recognition of the important role that Black economists must play in determining economic priorities for our nation. Given their academic preparation and professional experience, both Drs. Cook and Jefferson have the economic tools needed to foster financial stability and full employment. Each of these economists are uniquely and exceptionally qualified to address the challenges facing our nation.

Dr. Cook’s extensive knowledge of financial markets, gained initially from her research on Russian capital markets, enabled her to inform the Council of Economic Advisors on the U.S. policy implications and response to the Eurozone economic and financial crisis. Dr. Cook’s path breaking research and publications focus on innovation and its links to productivity and economic growth. Given her expertise, Dr. Cook has been a presenter to central bank leaders here and abroad on banking systems, innovation, economic growth, and monetary policies. Last year, the Senate confirmed Dr. Cook to finish the final year and a half of a 14-year term as a Member of the Board of Governors. Previously, she had served on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Like Dr. Cook, Dr. Jefferson has had extensive experience with the Federal Reserve System where his work has focused on monetary policy and its potential distributional effects. Indeed, a prominent concern of Black American economists has been the uneven impact of macroeconomic policies on communities according to race and ethnicity. Last year, the Senate confirmed Dr. Jefferson as a Member of the Board of Governors. Previously, he had worked as a research economist for the Board of Governors, as well as a visiting economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He has published extensively on issues of monetary theory and policy. His research also addresses the links between inequality, poverty, and business cycles.

Drs. Cook and Jefferson are well respected in the economics profession. In addition to their service as presidents of the National Economic Association, their peers have elected them into other leadership positions within the economics profession. Dr. Cook has served on the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association. Dr. Jefferson was Director of the Eastern Economic Association. The presence of these widely respected economists will encourage participation by other leading economists in Federal Reserve initiatives.

The NEA has just commemorated 100 Years of African American Economists in recognition of the first African American who received a doctorate degree in economics, Sadie T. M. Alexander, in 1921. Dr. Alexander was also the first economist in the U.S. publicly to support full employment policies through federal efforts. Over the past 100 years, Black American economists have remained steadfast in our support for federal policies that promote the fulfillment of full employment. Both of these candidates are eminently qualified to meet the responsibilities and professional expectations of supporting the Federal Reserve’s Dual Mandate of Full Employment and Price Stability. In particular, their research and practical experience has helped them to identify means of achieving non-inflationary, inclusive growth that would benefit a wide swath of our nation.


Angelino Viceisza, Ph.D.
NEA President
On Behalf of the NEA Board