Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Michael Greenstone has joined Brookings as a senior fellow in Economic Studies and director of The Hamilton Project, Brookings President Strobe Talbott announced today. For the past year, Greenstone has served as chief economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.
The Hamilton Project, launched in April 2006, is an economic policy initiative at Brookings that generates new policy ideas for promoting broad-based economic growth that benefits more Americans. A distinguished Advisory Council that includes former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and Deputy Secretary Roger C. Altman contributes to the project’s work.
“Michael’s extensive background in both academia and government make him an excellent choice to lead The Hamilton Project in its next phase of policy work,” said Karen Dynan, vice president and co-director of Economic Studies. “As one of the nation’s leading energy and environmental economists, he will bring real expertise to Brookings just as the country confronts climate change and rethinks its energy policy.”
As chief economist, Greenstone helped oversee the policy agenda of the Council of Economic Advisers during the first year of the Obama administration. Greenstone’s academic work is focused on identifying government’s appropriate role— through regulations, taxes, or spending—in a market economy. He is currently engaged in a large-scale project to estimate the economic costs of climate change and has worked extensively on the Clean Air Act. He has demonstrated that government environmental regulation has improved air quality, leading to reductions in infant mortality rates and higher housing values, while also imposing costs through reducing the scale of manufacturing activity.
“The country is facing a series of challenges that threaten our continued prosperity,” Greenstone said. “I am excited to continue The Hamilton Project’s tradition of taking some of the best ideas from academia and turning them into pragmatic solutions to help meet these challenges.”
Greenstone received a PhD in economics from Princeton University in 1998 and a BA in economics with high honors from Swarthmore College in 1991.
“We are delighted that Michael has agreed to guide the future work of The Hamilton Project,” said Rubin. “Under his leadership, we have an ambitious agenda planned for addressing critical policy issues that relate to advancing growth, wide participation in that growth, and increased economic security in a transforming global economy.”
Greenstone is the fourth director of the Hamilton Project. The founding director, Peter O. Orszag, left in the fall of 2007 to become the director of the Congressional Budget Office and was succeeded by Jason Furman, who left in June 2008 to direct economic policy for the Obama Presidential Campaign. Douglas Elmendorf, who replaced Furman, became director of the Congressional Budget Office in January 2009.
Greenstone’s research has also covered a wide range of other topics including the beneficial impacts of mandatory disclosure laws on stock prices and the role of antidiscrimination laws in reducing African-American infant mortality rates. He became a member of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee of EPA’s Science Advisory Board in 2003. In 2004, he received the 12th Annual Kenneth J. Arrow Award for best paper in the field of health economics. Greenstone previously served as a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings in 2007-2008.