Obama to nominate UM prof to Federal Reserve board

Melissa Nann Burke and David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — President Barack Obama plans to nominate a University of Michigan economics professor to serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, the White House said Monday.

Kathryn M. Dominguez joined the UM faculty in 1997 and teaches macroeconomics and international finance in the economics department and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, where she is set to be an associate dean for academic affairs starting in the fall.

Her nomination will be subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The Federal Reserve, helmed by the seven-member board, is an independent body that sets the nation’s monetary policy.

She would become the second faculty member of both the Ford School and UM economics department to serve on the Board of Governors, according to UM. Edward Gramlich served on the board from 1997 to 2005 and chaired the Committee on Consumer and Community Affairs.

Obama said in a statement that Dominguez has the “proven experience, judgment and deep knowledge of the financial system, monetary policy, and international capital markets to serve at the Federal Reserve during this important time for our economy.”

“She brings decades of leadership and expertise from various roles, particularly from her years as a leading economist and academic,” he added.

Members of the Fed’s board of governors serve staggered terms of 14 years. In an attempt to insulate them from political pressure, governors may not be removed from office for their policy views.

“Professor Dominguez is a renowned scholar and teacher with a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s leading experts on global financial markets,” said UM President Mark Schlissel.

“Kathryn joins a long tradition of University of Michigan faculty lending their expertise at the highest levels of service in Washington, D.C., shaping public policy and strengthening communities.”

Her economics colleagues welcomed the planned nomination as well.

“Kathryn is a great appointment to the Fed Board of Governors,” said David Lam, director of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and an economics professor.

“We are all very proud of her. She is a great economist with particular expertise in international finance.”

Her current research looks at the reasons for the slow recovery from the Great Recession in the United States, including the role of global economic developments.

Dominguez’s nomination is another sign of the growing clout of economics and public policy researchers at the Ann Arbor campus.

Betsey Stevenson, a UM public policy professor, recently completed a two-year stint at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Michael Barr, a UM law professor, served as assistant secretary for Financial Institutions at the Treasury earlier in the Obama administration.

“The partisan in me can’t help but note that my colleagues at @UMich really are playing a big role in shaping U.S. public policy these days,” Justin Wolfers, a UM economics professor, wrote on Twitter.

Wolfers noted that other Michigan professors also have been influential in the Obama administration, including education scholar Susan M. Dynarski and professors Brian Jacob and Matt Shapiro.

Dynarski has testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the President’s Commission on Tax Reform, and has consulted broadly on student aid reform.

Dominguez, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, served on academic advisory panels for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2013 and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 2007. She was a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in December 2002.

She was also research consultant for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements.

Dominguez had visiting roles at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley in 2008-09 and at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2003-04.

Dominguez holds a degree from Vassar College and a doctorate in economics from Yale University.

If she’s confirmed by the Senate, Dominguez’s annual salary would be $181,500.


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