News Release

The Hamilton Project at Brookings appoints Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach as new director

August 4, 2015

Washington, D.C. — Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern University has been appointed to succeed Melissa Kearney as director of The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution. Schanzenbach will also join the Economic Studies program as a senior fellow.

Robert E. Rubin, one of the Project’s founders and the nation’s 70th Treasury Secretary, said: “Diane Schanzenbach’s extensive research and expertise spans many of the most pressing economic issues our nation faces today in the areas of social mobility and inequality, which The Hamilton Project will continue to address throughout her tenure. Diane will continue a tradition of excellence in Hamilton Project directors beginning with Peter Orszag, continued with Jason Furman, Doug Elmendorf, Michael Greenstone, and most recently upheld with great distinction by Melissa Kearney.”

Schanzenbach, whose appointment is effective August 3, 2015, will also serve as a senior fellow in Brookings’ Economic Studies program. Schanzenbach, who received her PhD in economics from Princeton, is a professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Kearney will return to full-time teaching and research this fall at the University of Maryland, a condition on which her appointment as director of The Hamilton Project in 2013 was predicated.

“It is a great privilege to join The Hamilton Project team,” said Schanzenbach. “The Project’s focus on fostering more inclusive growth by enhancing individual economic security directly aligns with my academic research and papers. I look forward to collaborating with some of our nation’s leading economists to develop innovative policy proposals, and to working with the Advisory Council and staff to advance the work of the Project.”

Praise for Schanzenbach’s appointment was offered by Peter Orszag, vice chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking at Citigroup, Inc. and former director of the Office of Management and Budget: “Diane Schanzenbach is a distinguished academic economist whose research on poverty, achievement in schools, and hunger fits well with the Hamilton Project’s mission. I’m thrilled to see her lead the Project as it continues to put forward thoughtful and innovative policies to tackle some of our nation’s toughest economic policy challenges.”

Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, also applauded Schanzenbach’s appointment: “Diane Schanzenbach has been a leader in the academic community in conducting rigorous research with strong policy relevance, such as her research on safety-net and education programs and how to enhance their effectiveness. She is ably suited to head the Hamilton Project, and I am delighted by her selection as its next director.”

Roger Altman, a co-founder of The Hamilton Project and a former deputy secretary of the Treasury, offered his appreciation for Kearney’s leadership: “Melissa has been an imaginative and superb director, and we are grateful for her leadership and advancement of the work of The Hamilton Project. Throughout Melissa’s tenure, the Project has commissioned groundbreaking policy proposals, convened a tremendously successful national poverty summit, and advanced impactful economic analyses addressing labor market challenges, inequality and social mobility.”

In addition to Schanzenbach, The Hamilton Project leadership team includes: Jane Dokko who joined The Hamilton Project as policy director and as a Brookings fellow in May, after serving as a senior economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers; and the Project’s managing director, Kriston McIntosh, who oversees the daily operations, outreach and communications for the Project.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.