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Yellen Betting Defies 100-Year Jinx of Fed No. 2 Never Elevated

Janet Yellen, the favorite to lead the Federal Reserve in a survey of economists, would need to overcome 100 years of history in which the central bank’s No. 2 official has never risen to the top job.

Yellen, the Fed’s vice chairman since October 2010, was given 65 percent odds of taking the helm at the Fed in January 2014 when Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s second four-year term expires, according to a June 19-20 survey of 54 economists who follow the central bank. Her appointment would break another 100-year pattern by making her the first woman to lead the Fed.