Robert Greenstein

Robert Greenstein

Visiting Fellow – Economic Studies, The Hamilton Project

Robert Greenstein is a visiting fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he is affiliated with The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative. He is the founder and President Emeritus of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He is considered an expert on the federal budget and a range of domestic policy issues, including programs and policies affecting low- and moderate-income families and individuals, and has written extensively on these issues.

In 1996, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for making “the Center a model for a non–partisan research and policy organization.” In 2008, he received both the Heinz Award for Public Policy for his work to “improve the economic outlook of many of America’s poorer citizens” and the John W. Gardner Leadership Award, given annually by Independent Sector, which said, “Greenstein has played a defining role in how people think about critical budget and tax policies…. [and] help[ed] the nation address fiscal responsibility, reduce poverty, and expand opportunity.” In 2010, he received the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize from the American Academy of Political and Social Science, which cited him as “a champion of evidence-based policy whose work at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is respected on both sides of the aisle.” Since 2019, he has been a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance’s (NASI) Study Panel on Economic Security, which will complete its work in 2021, and in 2021 he joined the Policy Translation Working Group of NASI’s COVID-19 Task Force.  He also serves as a member of the advisory committee for the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and as a member on the JPB Foundation’s Poverty and Environment Advisory Committee.

Prior to founding the Center, Greenstein was Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture under President Carter, where he directed the agency that operates the federal food assistance programs, such as the food stamp and school lunch programs, and helped design the landmark Food Stamp Act of 1977, generally regarded as the Carter Administration’s largest anti-poverty achievement. He was appointed by President Clinton in 1994 to serve on the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform and headed the part of President Obama’s transition team that dealt with the federal budget. He is a graduate of Harvard College and has received honorary doctorates from Tufts University, Occidental College, and Haverford College.

  • Past Positions

    • Founder and President Emeritus, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
    • Director, Project on Food Assistance and Poverty
    • Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Education

    • University of California, Berkeley, 1969
    • London School of Economics, 1968
    • Harvard University, 1967
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