Although Yellen's nominations was expected, its confirmation has acted as a much-needed salve on US markets. The 67-year old former Brown graduate has been the Fed's deputy chairman since 2010, and is likely to adhere largely to the course already set, in which she played a large hand.
At the start of their academic careers, Yellen and her husband developed a theory of the labour markets, inspired by their own willingness to pay above the odds for childcare in order to secure better quality of service today.
That work has helped to shape much of the Fed's current policy, which recognises the impact of unemployment on confidence both amongst the population at large and in individuals affected.
Janet Yellen, vice chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, at the Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building Photo: New York Times / Redux / eyevine
"These are not just statistics to me," Yellen told a conference in February. "We know that long-term unemployment is devastating to workers and their families."
The daughter of a teacher and a doctor, Yellen initially studied economics because she saw it as a path to public service a subject which could yoke her love of mathematics with a desire to change people's lives.
One of her great intellectual heroes was the economist James Tobin, who believed that government intervention can lift an economy out of recession, and who in Yellen's view injected a dose of humanity into what could sometimes seem a cold discipline.
After his death in 2002, she told a Yale newspaper: "He encouraged his students to work that would not only meet a high intellectual standard, but would improve the well-being of mankind."
The Fed has said it will keep fiscal stimulus measures in place until America's labour market shows signs of sustained improvement, and that even then, it will only start tapering its $85bn-a-month bond-buying scheme gradually, over six to eight months.
Yellen, who has been one of the most vocal advocates of artificial stimulus, could wind back America's quantitative easing programme even more slowly than that.
Economists, who had expected tapering to start this month, are pushing their estimates out as late as March.
It is not a solo decision of course - Fed policy is put to a vote by its 12 members. But Yellen is one of the more vocal members of the group. Although she favours a consensus, she is expected to be more assertive about her own opinions than her predecessor was.
Investors and economists hope that this will come hand in hand with another significant departure in style. They are looking to Ms Yellen to sharpen up the Fed's communication skills, following a particularly volatile summer of trading, during which Mr Bernanke's mixed signals left investors poring over every shred of new data to try and second-guess the Fed's next move.
"She is likely to be more upfront about her own views, to be less of a consensus seeker at all costs, to defer less to the [committee] consensus, and to produce clearer communication as a result," said Roberto Perli, head of global monetary policy at Cornerstone Macro, a Washington research firm.
Investors may take solace from Yellen's single-mindedness, as well as her reputation for clarity. The notes she took as a university student were so clear, they are reportedly still used as a resource for undergraduates today.