Fed's Kocherlakota: diversity improves policymaking

Fri May 9, 2014 8:10pm EDT

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May 9 (Reuters) - A diverse workforce that cuts across gender, ethnic and geographic lines can improve policymaking by generating a larger and better pool of ideas, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota said on Friday.

In remarks prepared for delivery to the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, Kocherlakota did not comment on his outlook for the economy or for monetary policy.

Fed policymakers include the heads of 12 regional Fed banks and a Washington-based Board of Governors, giving the central bank access to a broad range of economic "intel" from around the nation, Kocherlakota said.

He said his own upbringing -- in Winnipeg, by a father from southeast India and a mother from a Pittsburgh suburb -- gave him early on a sense of the range of views in the world, and a conviction that there is more than one way to think about any given problem.

"We will have access to more and better ideas if our employees have a large number of distinct life journeys," Kocherlakota said . "And we need those more and better ideas if we are to be effective in solving the various public policy challenges that we confront."

The Fed's top policymaker, Janet Yellen, is the first woman to head the U.S. central bank since its founding a century ago. (Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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