Jerome Powell, US President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Federal Reserve, should have little trouble bonding with Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Both served in right-of-centre governments and both are said to be good at bringing people together. Both also have endured criticism that they are unqualified to run their institutions because they are lawyers, not economists.
“Powell doesn’t even own an undergrad degree in economics,” Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets, the investment banking arm at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, wrote in a note to his clients on November 3. “Forgive us for defending our own profession, but when would a non-lawyer be named Attorney General?”
Lagarde, who got by as France’s finance minister without an undergrad degree in economics, faced similar criticism when she was thrust into her current position in 2011. She still does, to some extent. Yet she has also excelled at her job. There is reason to think Powell will do the same, assuming he is confirmed by the Senate.
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