IPR Economist Tapped for National Economic Initiative

Diane Schanzenbach to lead Brookings' Hamilton Project

dws hamilton project
IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach speaks at the Hamilton Project's "Addressing America's Poverty Crisis" panel in 2014.

The Hamilton Project, a nationwide economic policy initiative of the Brookings Institution based in Washington, D.C., appointed IPR economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach as its director this August. In addition to her two-year directorship, she will also serve as a senior fellow in economic studies.

“She’s a great choice,” wrote University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee on Twitter following the announcement. He is a colleague and a former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama from 2010–2011.

Schanzenbach, who holds degrees in economics from Princeton (PhD) and Wellesley (BA), studies policies aimed at reducing poverty, in particular the effects of food stamps, early education interventions, and school accountability measures on childhood and adult health and well-being. Taking over from University of Maryland economist Melissa Kearney, she will continue The Hamilton Project’s mission to foster broad-based economic growth through innovative policy proposals—especially as the nation still grapples with the lingering effects of the 2009 recession.

“The number one economic issue we should be talking about in the next few years is how to foster broad-based growth, and the role for effective government to enhance that,” Schanzenbach said.

From her vantage point as an IPR fellow for five years and head of IPR’s research program on child, adolescent and family studies, she sees great similarities between IPR and the Hamilton Project in seeking to bridge the worlds of academia and policy.

The Hamilton Project “shares so many of the core values that IPR has,” which include identifying the most important policy questions and studying them from a rigorous, research-based perspective, Schanzenbach explained. 

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is associate professor of human development and social policy and an IPR fellow. For more about her research, see