Tenacity coupled with brilliance were key to Jean Andrus Crockett’s groundbreaking career. She was the first female department chair at Wharton, the first woman to lead the Faculty Senate, and the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Crockett, who died in 1998, was a scholar of consumption and savings, investment, financial interest rates, markets, and the economics of health care. She published widely in major scholarly journals and also held a series of public service positions throughout her career.
Crockett broke new ground in her analyses of the stock market and investors. In 1970, for example, she and Wharton colleagues Irwin Friend (also featured in this issue) and Marshall Blume found that mutual funds did little to improve the market’s efficiency. On average, they found, mutual-fund investors would have fared better had they simply bought an equal number of shares of every common stock on the New York Stock Exchange.
She was promoted to full professor in 1966 and named chairwoman of the finance department in 1977. In 1989, she received the University’s Distinguished Faculty Award for “pioneering all-University leadership and for dedication to furthering the careers of junior colleagues and graduate students.”
Crockett served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia from 1977 to 1982, and was appointed chairwoman of the regional bank in 1982. In one of her first statements in that post, she echoed a theme sounded by former Fed chairman Paul A.Volcker, who argued that Federal deficits had to be cut to make the Fed’s job less agonizing. “Interest rates,” Crockett said at that time, “would not have to be this high if fiscal policy were used in addition to monetary policy to fight inflation.”