Expert Profile

Gary Burtless
John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair in Economic Studies
Brookings Institution

Gary Burtless holds the John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He is also a research associate of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Burtless’s research focuses on issues connected with public finance, aging, saving, labor market policy evaluation, income distribution, social insurance, and the behavioral effects of government tax and transfer policy. He is coauthor of Globaphobia: Confronting Fears about Open Trade (1998); Five Years After: The Long Term Effects of Welfare-to-Work Programs (1995), Growth with Equity: Economic Policymaking for the Next Century (1993), and Can America Afford to Grow Old? Paying for Social Security (1989). He was also editor or co-editor and contributor to Aging Societies: The Global Dimension (1998), Does Money Matter? The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement and Adult Success (1996), A Future of Lousy Jobs? The Changing Structure of U.S. Wages (1990), Work, Health and Income Among the Elderly (1987) and Retirement and Economic Behavior (1984). Burtless has served as co-editor of the Journal of Human Resources and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and the Australian Economic Review. He is currently the co-editor of the Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs. He has written numerous scholarly and popular articles on the income distribution and on the economic effects of education, training, and job search programs, public pensions, social assistance, unemployment insurance, and taxes.

Burtless received his undergraduate education at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and in 1977 obtained a doctoral degree in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before coming to Brookings in 1981, he served as an economist for the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and in the office of the U.S. Secretary of Labor. In 1993 he was Visiting Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has served for many years on the Advisory Committee on Work-Welfare Studies of the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he served on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Panel for the National Job Training Partnership Act Study, and in later years he served on the Department’s Advisory Panel for the Job Corps Experiment. He has also served as an advisor and consultant on a variety of other social experiments, including Canada’s Self-Sufficiency Project and Milwaukee’s Project New Hope.

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