Posted on May 12, 2022

Lisa Cook, First Black Woman Confirmed to Federal Reserve Board, Highlights Impact of Racism on Economy

Tomas Kassahun, Blavity, May 11, 2022

Lisa Cook, who was confirmed on Tuesday as the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, has completed vast research throughout her career to show the impact of racism on the economy. In a report she published in 2020, Cook said discrimination not only impacts those who are direct victims, but also reduces the wealth and income of millions of people.

In her research, Cook highlighted the amount of patents that were never issued due to the constant riots, lynchings and Jim Crow laws Black Americans faced between 1870 and 1940.

“The loss was considerable: The patents that African-Americans could have been expected to receive, given equal opportunity, would have roughly equaled the total for a medium-size European country during that time,” she wrote, The New York Times reports.

Cook also referred to work from other researchers, saying “aggregate economic output would have been $16 trillion higher since 2000 if racial gaps had been closed.”


The Michigan State University professor proposed more training in science, technology, engineering and mathematic, particularly programs that encourage women and underrepresented minorities to participate in those fields.

She also said there is substantial evidence of systemic racism in education which must be addressed.


At corporate and government levels, as well as in university labs, Cook said diversity helps create a more productive team. {snip}

Cook added that it’s necessary to “diversify corporate boards so that senior leadership will be held accountable for diversity and workplace climate.”

{snip} Cook was confirmed on Tuesday with a 51-50 party-line vote. {snip}