Who Is Cecilia Rouse?

Dr. Cecilia Rouse is the chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). She is a prominent labor economist with expertise in the economics of education and equality and issues related to long-term unemployment. Her academic research and writings have focused on education, discrimination in the workforce, and various financial challenges facing individuals and families. The Senate confirmed President Biden's choice on March 2, 2021, making Rouse the first Black chairperson in the history of CEA, which was formed in 1946.

Previously she served as the dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and served as a member of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

Cecilia Rouse

Alison Czinkota / Investopedia

Key Takeaways

  • The chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers is labor economist Cecilia Rouse.
  • She was appointed by President Biden to serve in this position.
  • Rouse is a labor economist whose work focuses on the economics of education, including school voucher programs, community colleges, and student loans.
  • She has authored several high-profile papers on the programs on these topics.
  • Rouse was an economic adviser during both the Obama and Clinton administrations.

Early Life and Education

On Dec. 18, 1963, Rouse was born in Walnut Creek, Cali., and grew up in Del Mar in the same state as her birth, along with her two siblings. Her mother, Lorraine Rouse, was a school psychologist. Her father, the late Carl Rouse, studied physics, earning his doctorate at Caltech University. He was the first Black man admitted to the prestigious physics department at the university and worked at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Rouse graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 1981 and then attended Harvard University for both her undergraduate and graduate degree. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1986 and a doctorate in economics in 1992.

Rouse's confirmation as chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers was supported by Republican and Democratic senators alike.

Notable Deeds and Career

Rouse taught economics and public affairs at Princeton University starting in 1992 and later became dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs in 2012.

She also served on the National Economic Council during the Clinton Administration as special assistant to President Bill Clinton in 1998. She has authored numerous landmark articles on economic policy issues.

When Rouse was on the CEA in the first two years of the Obama-Biden administration, she helped design policies to encourage employers to boost hiring and argued for more fiscal stimulus to aid the recovery after the 2007–2009 recession.

After being nominated to be the chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers by President Joe Biden, Rouse was confirmed by the Senate on March 2, 2021. Her prior experience in previous administrations should be a key asset since the CEA designs economic policy. She was sworn into office by Vice President Kamala Harris on March 12, 2021.

In her role, she is responsible for providing the president with economic advice on formulating both domestic and international economic policy. She leads the CEA in researching and analyzing current economic developments and trends to make data-based recommendations to the president based on the council's findings.

Published Works

Rouse has written numerous prominent papers, and as of 2020, her writing can be found in 84 publications. Among the topics she has written about are the impact of private school vouchers on student achievement and administrators' accountability, the result of student loan debt on careers, how financial incentives impact student performance, and how computer-assisted instruction impacts students' academic success or failure.

Personal Life

Rouse's husband is Ford Morrison, the son of the late Toni Morrison and an architect for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and the couple has two daughters. She began to study economics on her mother's advice when she attended Harvard as an undergraduate.

After receiving her undergraduate degree at Harvard, she traveled to Africa, where she studied at L'Université de Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal.

Who Is Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers?

Labor economist Cecilia E. Rouse is the 30th chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers. She is the first person of color ever to fill this position. Rouse was appointed by President Biden, and also served as an economic adviser on the council during the Obama administration.

What Is CEA Chair?

The CEA chair is the head or lead economist for the Council of Economic Advisers. They are appointed by the president of the United States. President Biden nominated and the Senate appointed Cecilia E. Rouse to be the chairperson of the CEA in 2021.

Is Cecilia Rouse Related to Toni Morrison?

Cecilia Rouse is married to the late author, Toni Morrison's son, Ford Morrison.

Is Cecilia Rouse a Dean at Princeton?

Dr. Rouse is the former dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. She stepped down from her position to work in President Biden's cabinet as the 30th chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers.

The Bottom Line

Rouse is an accomplished and experienced economist appointed to sit as chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers. She brings a wealth of experience to the job, including previous time on the council as an adviser to the Obama administration.

Soaring student debt, economic inequality, and other economic challenges are just a few of the areas Rouse plans to address during her time as chairperson.

Originally written by Matthew Johnston
Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. The New York Times. "Senate Confirms Cecilia Rouse as the First Black Chair of White House Economic Council."

  2. Princeton University, Julius Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance. "Cecilia E. Rouse."

  3. Caltech Alumni Association. "Carl A. Rouse (MS '53, PhD '56)," Download "Obituary."

  4. Black Past. "Cecilia Rouse."

  5. Princeton University. "Cecilia Rouse Named Woodrow Wilson School Dean."

  6. American Economic Association. "CSMGEP Profiles: Cecilia Elena Rouse, Princeton University."

  7. U.S. Congress. "PN78-17 — Cecilia Elena Rouse — Executive Office of the President."

  8. C-SPAN. "Council of Economic Advisers Chair Swearing-In Ceremony."

  9. The White House. "Council of Economic Advisers."

  10. ResearchGate. "Cecilia Elena Rouse."

  11. The White House. "History of the CEA."