I should add that it’s true that, as Richard Shelby says, Peter Diamond is not primarily known for his work on monetary policy. Instead he’s best known for his work on pension issues, and secondarily for his work on tax issues. That said, he’s brilliant (as anyone) and seventy years old, so he’s actually published quite a bit on a variety of topics. For example, he’s done considerably more academic research relevant to monetary policy than has Richard Shelby.
Governor Kevin Warsh, who George W Bush appointed in 2006 to no controversy, is 40 and has a JD but no advanced degree in economics or academic research in the field at all. Elizabeth Duke who Bush also nominated and who Shelby doesn’t seem to have a problem with has no advanced degree in any subject and has a bachelor’s degree in drama. Daniel Tarullo, who Barack Obama appointed and who was confirmed with no controversy, has a JD and a MA, but again no PhD. Sandra Pianalto, President of the Cleveland Fed, has an MBA and a MA but no PhD.
Not that there needs to be a rule that FOMC members should have PhDs in economics. But the point is that Diamond would clearly raise the level of macroeconomic expertise on a board that’s currently dominated by bankers and bank regulators.