Noted economist Rebecca M. Blank is joining the Brookings Institution as the Robert S. Kerr senior fellow, Brookings President Strobe Talbott announced today. Blank is a former member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors and former dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
“I’m delighted to be joining the excellent group of colleagues in Economic Studies. Brookings is the right place to work on the issues that I care about, such as education, employment, and poverty,” Blank said.
Blank is an expert on the interaction between the macroeconomy, government anti-poverty programs, and the behavior and well being of low-income families. “We are very fortunate to have Becky,” said William G. Gale, Brookings vice president and director of Economic Studies. “She is truly a powerhouse in the field of social policy and brings an enormous amount of prestige and value to our research program and the Institution.”
During the past year, Blank has been at Brookings as a visiting fellow on leave from Michigan. She has already received attention for her proposal to assist single mothers who face multiple barriers to securing and sustaining employment. She recently testified before Congress on unemployment insurance benefit extension in recent months and was invited to be part of a conversation with a Federal Reserve Board of Governors on pay-day lending.
In the coming year, Blank plans to launch an initiative on social policy which will focus on education, labor markets, and changing demography, drawing together other Brookings scholars in collaboration with researchers and policy analysts from across the nation. The goal will be to expand research to help design more effective policies in these areas, and to organize outreach and dissemination activities that influence public discourse.
Blank is also a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research, and has previously taught economics at Princeton, Northwestern, and Michigan. She earned her doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in economics.