Skip to main content
News Release

Economist Henry J. Aaron Appointed to MacLaury Chair at Brookings Institution

Henry J. Aaron, a leading economic analyst and a noted authority on health care, welfare, tax policy and social security, has been named recipient of the Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Chair at the Brookings Institution, President Michael H. Armacost announced today.

Aaron, who recently completed a year-long sabbatical at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University as a Guggenheim Fellow, was director of the Economic Studies program at Brookings from 1990 to 1996.

The MacLaury Chair was established by the Brookings Board of Trustees in honor of Bruce K. MacLaury and his wife, Virginia. MacLaury was president of the Brookings Institution for 18 years until his retirement in 1995. He currently is chairman of the Emergency Transitional Education Board of Trustees of the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Aaron has been at Brookings since 1968, with the exception of the fall semester in 1974 when he was a visiting professor at Harvard University, the years 1977-78, when he was the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and last year, when he was at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. From 1967 through 1989, he also was on the faculty of the economics department at the University of Maryland.

As chairholder, Aaron plans to focus on health care, income distribution, tax policy, and social security. He was editor of The Problem That Won’t Go Away: Reforming U.S. Health Care Financing, published in 1995, and coauthor with William G. Gale of Economic Effects of Fundamental Tax Reform, published in 1996.

In addition to his activities at Brookings, Aaron has served in important positions in academic circles, the federal government, public policy centers, and other research organizations for the past 25 years. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, vice president of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and formerly vice president of the American Economic Association, chairman of the Advisory Council on Social Security, and chairman of the Panel on the Housing Allowance Experiments of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of Abt Associates and Georgetown University.

Aaron has written and edited numerous books and articles on economics, including Values and Public Policy, with Thomas E. Mann and Timothy Taylor (Brookings, 1994) and Setting Domestic Priorities: What Can Government Do? with Charles L. Schultze (Brookings, 1992). He is author of Serious and Unstable Condition: Financing America’s Health Care, and edited the anthology Setting National Priorities: Policy for the Nineties (Brookings, 1990). Among his better known previous works, several of which have been written in cooperation with other Brookings scholars, are The Comparable Worth Controversy (Brookings, 1986), with Cameran Lougy; Assessing Tax Reform (Brookings, 1985), with Harvey Galper; and The Peculiar Problem of Taxing Life Insurance Companies (Brookings, 1983). He was a principal contributor to Can America Afford to Grow Old? Assessing Social Security (Brookings, 1988), with Barry P. Bosworth and Gary Burtless. His articles have appeared in The Brookings Review, the Harvard Business Review, the Yale Law Journal, the American Economic Review, and The New York Times, among many other publications.

Born in Illinois, Aaron received his B.A. in political science and economics from the University of California at Los Angeles, and his M.A. in Russian regional studies and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. He is married to Ruth Kotell Aaron, a psychotherapist.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public.

Get daily updates from Brookings