Sumner Rosen

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Sumner Rosen in 1997

Professor Sumner Maurice Rosen (born in Boston on June 17, 1923, died August 23, 2005) was a prominent political economist and a longtime advocate of social policies to benefit working people.[1]

Early Life & Family

Sumner Rosen was born in Boston on June 17, 1923. During World War II, he served with the Army Infantry in Europe and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard in 1948 and a Ph.D. in labor economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959. He married Judith Davidoff, a musician, in 1949; she is a noted cellist and viola da gamba player. The couple had two children, Max, (Manhattan) and Rebekah Rosen-Gomez (Jamestown, RI)[1]


Rosen was research director of New York University's New Careers Development Center, which offered job training for the chronically poor. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1975, retiring in 1993. Until the time of his death, Rosen was emeritus professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, where he had taught social policy for nearly two decades. Among the issues with which he was most closely associated were joblessness, workers' rights, health care policy, the global economy and the economics of disarmament. Dr. Rosen also taught at Rutgers University, Brooklyn College and Northeastern University.[1]

National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee

As of May 1964, Sumner Rosen Economics Simmons College, was listed as a sponsor of the Communist Party USA front, National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee.


During the 1960's, Dr. Rosen worked in the research department of the AFL-CIO.[1]

Socialist Scholars Conference

Sumner Rosen, Sheila Collins William, Helen Ginsburg and Gertrude Goldberg were speakers on the Economic Rights & Women's Employment in the U.S. and Germany panel sponsored by New Initiative for Full Employment at the Tenth Annual Socialist Scholars Conference. The conference was held April 24-26, 1992 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York City.[2]

Five Borough Institute

Rosen was a founder and board member of the Five Borough Institute, a public policy organization based in New York City that studies urban economic issues and their effect on the lives of working people.[1]

Workers Rights Board of New York

Rosen sits on the Steering Committee for the Workers Rights Board of New York.[3]

National Jobs For All Coalition

As at 1997, Rosen was Vice Chair and founder of the National Jobs For All Coalition which advocates "full employment at livable wages."[3]

Campaign for America's Future

In 1996 Sumner Rosen, Jobs for All was one of the original 130 founders of Campaign for America's Future.[4]

Purple Heart Veterans Against the War

In 2004, Rosen, a decorated World War II veteran, helped found Purple Heart Veterans Against the War, which opposes the United States' military involvement in Iraq.[1]

Association for Union Democracy

In 2008 Sumner Rosen was listed on the Advisory Board[5] for the Association for Union Democracy.


  • Economic Power Failure: The Current American Crisis (1975)
  • Commitment to Full Employment: The Economics and Social Policy of William S. Vickrey, with Aaron W. Warner and Mathew Forstater (2000)


Rosen died on Wednesday August 23, 2005 at his home in Manhattan, aged 82. The cause of death was cancer, his family said.[1]