Female economists want Yellen at Fed

Female economists seem to overwhelmingly back Janet Yellen as the next head of the Federal Reserve, according to an informal survey.

Of 45 female economists that responded to a survey conducted by CNNMoney, 38 backed Yellen, the Fed's current vice chairwoman, to replace Ben Bernanke, who is widely expected to leave the central bank when his term expires at the beginning of 2014.

Another six declined to pick a favorite, while one backed a return of former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. However, not a single respondent backed Lawrence Summers, the man President Obama is rumored to be favoring to take the spot.

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Reports and murmurs have suggested that Summers, President Clinton's former Treasury secretary and a former top economic adviser to the president, has the inside track on Bernanke's job.

That has led to an outcry in liberal circles. President Obama actually defended Summers to his fellow Democrats behind closed doors last week when he took a trip up to the Capitol.

Many of the economists surveyed said they favored Yellen because she had more monetary policy experience, and also because she was seen as a better consensus-builder than Summers.

Some Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have said they would like to see Yellen become the first female head of the Federal Reserve. But the economists surveyed believed strongly that if she were to be picked, it should be on the basis of her economic bona fides, not her gender.

But many Yellen-backers surveyed indicated that they believe the job is Summers's to lose. Of the 38 that said they favored Yellen for the job, 10 said they believed Summers would get it.

The president has insisted he has not settled on a nomination, which reportedly could come as early as September.