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Trump names Burkhauser as top economic adviser

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Rebecca Valli

Richard Burkhauser

President Donald Trump has appointed Cornell economist Richard V. Burkhauser to the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), the president’s primary source of objective advice on domestic and international economic policy. Each member of the three-person CEA is appointed by the president.

Burkhauser, the Sarah Gibson Blanding Professor of Policy Analysis Emeritus, is an expert in how public policies affect the economic behavior and well-being of vulnerable populations such as the elderly, people with disabilities and low-income households. He has conducted extensive research on how levels and trends in income and income inequality have changed in the United States and other countries.

He is awaiting security clearance before he begins his new job, he said.

“I am very much looking forward to working with Kevin Hassett, the newly confirmed chairman of the council, and with Tomas Philipson, the other member of the council, who are both terrific applied economists,” Burkhauser said. “We are all committed to fulfilling the charge of the CEA. The council bases its recommendations and analysis on economic research and empirical evidence, using the best data available to support the president in setting our nation’s economic policy.”

As a council member, Burkhauser will analyze and interpret economic developments to appraise the government’s programs and activities. He will also recommend national economic policies that promote employment, production and purchasing power.

“Rich Burkhauser is an outstanding economist whose research touches on an extraordinarily broad set of areas, including welfare programs, social security, income inequality, poverty, disability, minimum wage, pensions, the earned income tax credit and a host of others,” said Alan Mathios, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology. “I anticipate that he will make great contributions to the council and to the public, as his breadth of experience touches on so many of the fundamental issues influencing the national economy.”

Burkhauser has regularly presented his research findings on the consequences of disability policy to Congressional committees, government agencies and consumer groups.

His ongoing research includes looking into the factors accounting for changes in the economic well-being of the working-age population of people with disabilities. He’s also conducting research on the sensitivity of measures of income and income inequality to alternative specifications of income, including accrued versus capital gains. He’s recently been working as an affiliate of the University of Melbourne in Australia and the University of Texas, Austin.

Burkhauser and his wife, Ginger, have already moved to Washington, D.C., for this full-time position. As was the case for his almost two decades at Cornell, he is living within walking distance of his new office, he said.

“But instead of walking the two miles along the old Ithaca and Cortland Railroad right-of-way to my office in the College of Human Ecology,” he said, “I will be walking from my apartment down to the National Mall and then turning up the Ellipse to my office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the West Wing on the White House grounds.”

Burkhauser earned his Ph.D. in economics in 1976 from the University of Chicago. He joined Cornell’s faculty in 1998, retiring in 2017. A prolific author, Burkhauser has written 17 books, monographs and edited volumes, as well as numerous research papers in journals of demography, economics, gerontology and public policy.


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