Here’s who Irish gamblers think is in the running to become Fed chair

Sooner rather than later, President Obama is going to announce his pick to replace Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman (and yes, Bernanke's almost certainly on his way out). As of April, Neil put Fed vice chairperson Janet Yellen as the frontrunner, while earlier this week, Politico's Ben White and Patrick Reis reported that Larry Summers is the White House favorite for the job. The Wall Street Journal's Damien Paletta reported that Summers wants the gig, which Bloomberg's Hans Nichols confirmed. It's all a lot to decode.

Thankfully, Paddy Power, the Irish gambling site that seems to exist only to assign probabilities to things that financial and political reporters would like probabilities for, is on it. Here are their odds (adjusting for the overbook), compared to Neil's April numbers, and compared to the consensus around the Wonkpod.

Fed no. 2, and frontrunner to replace Bernanke, Janet Yellen. (Kevin LaMarque/Reuters)

Candidate: Janet Yellen.

Paddy Power odds: 71.3 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: 33 percent.

Current position: Vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Past positions: President, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (2004-2010); chairperson, Council of Economic Advisors (1997-1999); member, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1994-1997); professor and professor emerita of economics and business administration, University of California - Berkeley (1980-).

Where she stands: Yellen is the obvious choice if Obama wants to stay the course that Bernanke's being setting out. She'd please labor (she spoke to the AFL-CIO recently) and make history as the first female chairperson. A confirmation battle seems unlikely. 71.3 percent, honestly, seems about right, or even a little low.

Larry Summers (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Candidate: Larry Summers.

Paddy Power odds: 9.5 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: 17 percent.

Current position: Charles W. Eliot University professor, Harvard University.

Past positions: Director, National Economic Council (2009-2011); president, Harvard University (2001-2006); Secretary of the Treasury (1999-2001); deputy secretary of the Treasury (1995-1999); undersecretary of Treasury for international affairs (1993-1995); chief economist, World Bank (1991-1993).

Where he stands: Summers is unquestionably qualified for the position, and he's also more sympathetic to the left, pro-fiscal stimulus, skeptical of the monetary policy wing of the Democratic party than he's often given credit for. As he told Ezra earlier this year, "stabilizing the economy cannot be entirely given over to monetary policy." Then again, that could alienate fans of more aggressive monetary policy, including advocates of a nominal GDP target. He's also been very clear that he thinks we've pursued too much austerity, too quickly.

Then again, passing over Yellen, a more than qualified female candidate, for someone who once got caught up in a firestorm for suggesting that there might be innate differences in men's and women's abilities at math and science, doesn't look great. And Summers' occasionally, er, rough temperament and perceived arrogance (he once began a paper, "There are idiots. Look around.") might spur some doubt about  his consensus-making abilities.

Look at how smiley Tim is! (Alex Brandon/AP)

Candidate: Timothy Geithner.

Paddy Power odds: 7.8 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: 8 percent.

Current position: Distinguished fellow, Council on Foreign Relations.

Past positions: U.S. secretary of the treasury (2009-2013); president, Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2003-2009); director, Policy Development and Review Department, International Monetary Fund (2001-2003); undersecretary of treasury for international affairs (1998-2001).

Where he stands: Geithner is, obviously, quite close with his former colleagues in the Obama administration. He's reportedly Obama's top choice for the position. And while he'd be the first Fed chair since Paul Volcker to not have a PhD in economics, his record at the New York Fed, including service on the Federal Open Market Committee, makes it hard to argue he isn't qualified. But Geithner has repeatedly said he doesn't want the job, and he's been doing stuff — like taking $200,000 from Deutsche Bank for a speech — that would make it hard for him to go to the Fed. He's not an impossibility, but not likely either.

Romer (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

Candidate: Christina Romer.

Paddy Power odds: 4.1 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: Not listed.

Current position: Class of 1957 Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics, University of California - Berkeley.

Past positions: Chair, Council of Economic Advisors (2009-2011).

Where she stands: Romer has been fairly critical of the administration since leaving, for instance casting doubt on its proposal to raise the minimum wage, and criticizing the stimulus package as being too small. She also has been a vocal supporter of a nominal GDP target, making her more dovish than the Fed's current leadership. That, and her lack of direct monetary policy experience, leads many observors to downgrade her chances. But there's a strong argument for her appointment, which The Atlantic's Matt O'Brien makes here.

Meyer (Cleveland Fed).

Meyer (Cleveland Fed).

Candidate: Larry Meyer.

Paddy Power odds: 2.5 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: Not listed.

Current position: Senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomics Advisers.

Past positions: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System member, 1996-2002.

Where he stands: Meyer is, by all accounts, a very good macroeconomist and very familiar with the Federal Reserve system. But at 69, he's on the older side for a new nominee, and Obama might want someone with a bigger public profile.

Ferguson. (Mark Lennihan / AP)

Ferguson. (Mark Lennihan / AP)

Candidate: Roger Ferguson.

Paddy Power odds: 1.7 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: 13 percent.

Current position: President and CEO, TIAA-CREF.

Past positions: Vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1999-2006).

Where he stands: Ferguson works in finance at the moment, but then again, TIAA-CREF is a hugely respected retirement fund manager for teachers, professors and researchers. It may be the only finance job that doesn't hurt one's chances here, or at least that doesn't cause a PR problem. Ferguson was widely respected as Alan Greenspan's deputy, but then again, the recent reconsideration of Greenspan's tenure in light of the financial crisis may reflect badly on Ferguson. He'd also make history as the first black Fed chairman.

Kohn, left, with Bernanke and Austan Goolsbee. (Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg News)

Candidate: Donald Kohn.

Paddy Power odds: 1.3 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: 5 percent.

Current position: Senior fellow in economic studies, Brookings Institution, and member of the Bank of England Financial Policy Committee.

Past positions: Vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2006-2010); member, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2002-2006); various other roles at the Fed (1970-2002).

Where he stands: Kohn probably knows the modern Fed better than anybody, having worked there for 40 years, culminating in a stint as vice-chairman during the financial crisis. He was Bernanke's trusted number two and would, like Yellen, represent a degree of continuity in leadership. He would also put forward a strong nonpartisan, technocratic image for the bank, as a lifelong civil servant with no political background. Then again, at 70, he's up there for a new chairman, and perhaps would like to enjoy the leisurely pace of think tank life.

Krugman on the TV. (Scott Eells/Bloomberg)

Candidate: Paul Krugman.

Paddy Power odds: 11.1 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: Not listed.

Current position: You know what his current position is.

Where he stands: No one doubts that Krugman is brilliant. The man has a Nobel prize and a John Bates Clark medal, and even political opponents respect his work on trade theory. His work on currency crises and liquidity traps also makes him a natural choice for a monetary policy role. But Krugman has always said he prefers being on the outside, and past flirtations with administration jobs haven't ended well. In an excellent 2001 profile, Nick Confessore notes that Krugman was the early frontrunner to be Council of Economic Advisors chair under Clinton in 1993, but was deemed "too volatile". After a Little Rock summit with other advisors, he went on Larry King Live to pronounce the meeting "useless."

Rogoff, left, on the Colbert Report. (Comedy Central)

Candidate: Kenneth Rogoff.

Paddy Power odds: 0.4 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: Not listed.

Current position: Thomas D. Cabot professor of public policy and professor of economics, Harvard University; chess grandmaster (1978-present).

Past positions: Chief economist, International Monetary Fund (2001-2003).

Where he stands: Nope. The administration has often cited his work on why recovery from financial crises is slow, and Geithner even praised his now-infamous debt study, but he advised John McCain in the 2008 presidential race, and now that he and Carmen Reinhart are primarily known by the public for an Excel error, it's hard to imagine him getting picked.

Roubini (PBS)

Roubini (PBS)

Candidate: Nouriel Roubini.

Paddy Power odds: 0.4 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: Not listed.

Current position: Professor of economics and international business, New York University; chairman, Roubini Global Economics

Past positions: Adviser to the U.S. Treasury Department (2000-2001); senior adviser to the under secretary for international affairs (1999-2000);  senior economist for international affairs, White House Council of Economic Advisers (1998-1999).

Where he stands: Yeah, no. He's got a name, but he's also not American, skeptical of quantitative easing, and generally a bit of a loose cannon, which isn't exactly what you want in a Fed chairman, whose whole job is communication.

I am become Sachs, ender of poverty. (Seton Hall University)

I am become Sachs, ender of poverty. (Seton Hall University)

Candidate: Jeffrey Sachs.

Paddy Power odds: 0.2 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: Not listed.

Current position: Director of the Earth Institute, Quetelet professor of sustainable development, and professor of health policy and management at Columbia University; special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals.

Past positions: Adviser, governments of Bolivia (1985), Poland (1989), Slovenia, (1991), Estonia (1992), Russia (1991-1993).

Where he stands: Paddy Power's just naming economists they've heard of at this point. Sachs is vocally pro-austerity and anti-Keynesian, which probably rules him out of any administration job.

Niall Ferguson is too busy exploring the ramifications of Keynes' bisexuality to take the Fed job. (Bloomberg)

Candidate: Niall Ferguson.

Paddy Power odds: 0.2 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: Not listed.

Current position: Laurence A. Tisch professor of history at Harvard University.

Where he stands: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Yeah… (Linda Nylind for the Guardian)

Yeah… (Linda Nylind for the Guardian)

Candidate: Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Paddy Power odds: 0.1 percent.

Neil Irwin odds: Not listed.

Current position: Distinguished professor of risk engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute.

Past positions: Doom-sayer.

Where he stands: Let's just say he's a black swan. Get it? Jokes!

Fischer, looking serious. (Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

Candidate: Stanley Fischer.

Paddy Power odds: Not listed.

Neil Irwin odds: 9 percent.

Current position: Just left job as governor of the Bank of Israel (2005-2013).

Past positions: First deputy managing director, International Monetary Fund (1994-2001); chief economist, World Bank (1988-1990); professor of economics, MIT (1973-1999).

Where he stands: Fischer was a curious omission from Paddy Power's list. Ben Bernanke's dissertation adviser and one of the most celebrate macroeconomists of his generation, Fischer is universally beloved in the profession and his tenure as Israel's central banker has been widely praised. While an Israeli citizen and a native of Zambia, he spent almost all his adult life in the United States. Then again, he's 69 and was recently hospitalized, raising concerns about how long he could serve. See my February profile of him for more.

Jeremy Stein listens to a question at a Brookings Institution event. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Candidate: Jeremy Stein.

Paddy Power odds: Not listed.

Neil Irwin odds: 3 percent.

Current position: Member, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Moise Y. Safra professor of Economics at Harvard University.

Where he stands: Stein is a dark horse candidate for the chairmanship, having distinguished himself after only a year at the Fed for his statements in favor of using monetary policy to pop asset bubbles (like the housing bubble that caused the 2008 financial crisis). He's young and a widely respected academic economist who doesn't carry a lot of the baggage that others on this list do.

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