Lisa D. Cook

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Lisa Cook
Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Assumed office
May 23, 2022
Nominated byJoe Biden
Preceded byJanet Yellen
Personal details
Born1964 (age 58–59)
EducationSpelman College (BA)
St Hilda's College, Oxford (BA)
Cheikh Anta Diop University (MA)
University of California, Berkeley (PhD)
WebsiteOfficial website
Academic career
InstitutionMichigan State University
Economic history
Barry Eichengreen
David Romer
AwardsTruman Scholar (1984)
Marshall Scholar (1986)

Lisa DeNell Cook is an American economist who has served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors since May 23, 2022. She is the first African American woman and first woman of color to sit on the Board. Before her appointment to the Federal Reserve, she was elected to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.[1]

Cook was previously a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University and a member of the American Economic Association's Executive Committee.[2] An authority on international economics, especially the Russian economy, she has been involved in advising policymakers from the Obama Administration to the Nigerian and Rwandan governments. Her research is at the intersection of macroeconomics and economic history, with recent work in African-American history and innovation economics.[3][4] Cook is regarded as one of the few prominent black female economists and has attracted attention within academia for her efforts in mentoring black women and advocating for their inclusion in the field of economics.[5]

On January 14, 2022, President Joe Biden nominated Cook to serve as Federal Reserve governor;[6] she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 10, and took office on May 23, 2022.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Cook, born 1964,[8] is one of three daughters of Baptist hospital chaplain Payton B. Cook and Georgia College professor of nursing Mary Murray Cook, and was raised in Milledgeville, Georgia.[9] As a child, she was involved in desegregating schools in Georgia, and still has physical scars from being attacked by segregationists when she enrolled in a formerly White school.[10] She is a cousin of chemist Percy Julian.[10]

She read for a BA in Physics and Philosophy (magna cum laude) from Spelman College in 1986, where she was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar. She proceeded to St Hilda's College, Oxford as Spelman's first Marshall Scholar where she earned another BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in 1988. She took courses towards a Master's Degree in Philosophy at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal. After a mountain climbing trip on Mount Kilimanjaro with an economist, Cook began to seriously consider pursuing a PhD in Economics.[11][3] She temporarily used a wheelchair due to an automobile accident, when she entered graduate school.[9] Cook earned a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1997 under the guidance of Barry Eichengreen and David Romer.[12] Her dissertation focused on the underdevelopment of the banking system in czarist and post-Soviet Russia.[9][13]


Cook was a visiting assistant professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and Harvard Business School from 1997 to 2002, where she was Deputy Director of Africa Research at Harvard's Center for International Development. From 2000 to 2001, she was a senior adviser on finance and development at the U.S. Treasury Department as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. She was a National Fellow and Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University from 2002 to 2005. Cook advised the Nigerian government on its banking reforms in 2005, and the government of Rwanda on economic development.[3] In 2005, Cook joined Michigan State University as an assistant professor, becoming a tenured associate professor in 2013. She served as a Senior Economist in the Obama Administration's Council of Economic Advisers from August 2011 to August 2012.[4]

Early in her career, Cook's research focused on international economics, particularly the Russian economy. Later she has broadened her research on economic growth to focus on the economic history of African-Americans.[3] Her research suggested that violence against African-Americans under the Jim Crow laws led to a lower than expected number of actual patents filed.[14][10] Together with other economists, she has collated a long-running database on lynching in the United States.[15]

Since 2016, she has directed the American Economic Association's Summer Program for underrepresented minority students.[16] She became a member of the American Economic Association's Executive Committee in 2019.[2]

In November 2020, Cook was named a volunteer member of the Joe Biden presidential transition Agency Review Team to support transition efforts related to the Federal Reserve.[17]

Federal Reserve nomination[edit]

Cook sworn in as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors by Jerome Powell in May 2022

In 2021, Senator Sherrod Brown reportedly pushed the Biden Administration to nominate Cook to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.[18] President Biden officially nominated Cook to be a member of the Board of Governors on January 14, 2022.[19] She is the first Black woman on the Federal Reserve's board.[20]

Hearings were held on Cook's nomination before the Senate Banking Committee on February 3, 2022. On March 16, 2022, the committee deadlocked on Cook's nomination in a party-line vote, forcing the entire Senate to move to discharge her nomination out of the committee.[21][22] On March 29, 2022, the United States Senate discharged her nomination from the Senate Banking Committee by a 50-49 vote.[23] On April 26, 2022 the Senate attempted to invoke cloture on her nomination, but it was not agreed to by a 47-51 vote because Senators Chris Murphy and Ron Wyden contracted COVID-19 and were unable to vote. No Senate Republican voted for her, characterizing her as unqualified and a left-wing extremist.[24][20] On May 10, 2022, the Senate confirmed her nomination by a 51-50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote, after cloture was invoked on her nomination by a 50-49 vote.[25]

Selected works[edit]

  • Cook, Lisa D. "Trade credit and bank finance: Financing small firms in Russia." Journal of Business venturing 14, no. 5-6 (1999): 493-518.
  • Cook, Lisa D. "Three essays on internal and external credit markets in post-Soviet and tsarist Russia." University of California, Berkeley, 1997.
  • Cook, Lisa D., and Jeffrey Sachs. "Regional public goods in international assistance." Kaul et al., Global public goods: international cooperation in the 21st century (1999): 436-449.
  • Beny, Laura N., and Lisa D. Cook. "Metals or management? Explaining Africa's recent economic growth performance." American Economic Review 99, no. 2 (2009): 268-74.
  • Cook, Lisa D., and Chaleampong Kongcharoen. The idea gap in pink and black. No. w16331. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2010.
  • Cook, Lisa D., Trevon D. Logan, and John M. Parman. "Distinctively black names in the American past." Explorations in Economic History 53 (2014): 64-82.
  • Cook, Lisa D. "Violence and economic activity: evidence from African American patents, 1870–1940." Journal of Economic Growth 19, no. 2 (2014): 221-257.


  1. ^ "MSU's Lisa Cook elected to Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago board". MSUToday | Michigan State University. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "American Economic Association". Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "American Economic Association". Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Lisa Cook". Equitable Growth. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  5. ^ Casselman, Ben; Tankersley, Jim (June 10, 2020). "Economics, Dominated by White Men, Is Roiled by Black Lives Matter". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Franck, Thomas (January 14, 2022). "Biden to nominate Sarah Bloom Raskin as vice chair for supervision at Fed; Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson as governors". CNBC. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  7. ^ "Biden's Fed nominees sworn into office". The Hill. May 23, 2022. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  8. ^ "Interview with Lisa Cook". Times Higher Education (THE). October 14, 2021. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c "The Accidental Economist: Lisa D. Cook of Michigan State University – IMF F&D". Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "Patent Racism : Planet Money". Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  11. ^ "Mount Kilimanjaro and Becoming an Economics Professor | St. Louis Fed". Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  12. ^ "Three Essays on External and Internal Credit Markets in Tsarist and Post-Soviet Russia". ProQuest. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  13. ^ DeNell., Cook, Lisa (1997). Three essays on internal and external credit markets in post-Soviet and Tsarist Russia. OCLC 931666108.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Lisa D. Cook (2014). "Violence and Economic Activity: Evidence from African American Patents, 1870–1940". Journal of Economic Growth. 19 (2): 221–257. doi:10.1007/s10887-014-9102-z. S2CID 153971489.
  15. ^ Lisa Cook (2012). "Converging to a National Lynching Database: Recent Developments and the Way Forward". Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History. 45 (2): 55–63. doi:10.1080/01615440.2011.639289. S2CID 154428680.
  16. ^ "Episode 27: Dr. Lisa D. Cook and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman". Insight. November 1, 2019. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  17. ^ "Agency Review Teams". President-Elect Joe Biden. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Wilkie, Thomas Franck,Christina (May 21, 2021). "Key Senate Dem's choice for Fed board is an economist who would be the first Black woman to serve in that role". CNBC. Retrieved October 2, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ "President Biden Nominates Sarah Bloom Raskin to Serve as Vice Chair for Supervision of the Federal Reserve, and Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to Serve as Governors". The White House. January 14, 2022. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  20. ^ a b "Senate advances Fed nominee Lisa Cook on party-line vote". ABC News. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  21. ^ "PN1679 — Lisa DeNell Cook — Federal Reserve System 117th Congress (2021-2022)". US Congress. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  22. ^ Lane, Sylvan (March 16, 2022). "Senate panel advances Biden Fed nominees to confirmation votes". The Hill. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  23. ^ "On the Motion to Discharge (Motion to Discharge: Lisa DeNell Cook to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs)". US Senate. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  24. ^ "Biden Fed nominee's old tweets show she's 'hyper-partisan,' Republicans say". Fox Business. February 2022.
  25. ^ "Economist Lisa Cook to become first Black woman on Fed board". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 11, 2022.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors