Economic Policy Institute

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The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, was created in 1986 to;[1]

broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Today, with global competition expanding, wage inequality rising, and the methods and nature of work changing in fundamental ways, it is as crucial as ever that people who work for a living have a voice in the economic discourse.

EPI claims to be the first — and the premier —

...organization to focus on the economic condition of low- and middle-income Americans and their families. Its careful research on the status of American workers has become the gold standard in that field. Its encyclopedic State of Working America, issued every two years since 1988, is stocked in university libraries around the world. EPI researchers, who often testify to Congress and are widely cited in the media, first brought to light the disconnect between pay and productivity that marked the U.S. economy in the 1990s and is now widely recognized as a cause of growing inequality.

While claiming to be non partisan, many EPI personnel, including President Lawrence Mishel are linked to Democratic Socialists of America, the Institute for Policy Studies or both.

Member of the FACT Coalition

Economic Policy Institute is a member of the FACT Coalition.[2]

Partner Organization of ProsperUS

Economic Policy Institute is listed as a "Partner Organization" of ProsperUS,[3] a coalition of leftist groups formed during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic to demand massive government spending, including Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" spending bill.[4],[5],[6]

Statement on Biden's Build Back Better Spending Bill

A statement Posted on September 20, 2021 titled "Seventeen winners of the Nobel Prize in economics sign letter in support of the President’s Build Back Better package" argues that more money must be "invested" now in those things not traditionally thought of as infrastructure such as "human capital, the care economy, research and development, public education, and more..." [7]

The statement:

The American economy appears set for a robust recovery in part due to active government interventions over the past year and a half, including President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. But, reversing years of disinvestment in public goods and addressing the country’s long-term needs—including building toward sustainable and inclusive growth and facilitating our clean energy transition—will require more.
Success in the 21st century will require building upon the bi-partisan infrastructure deal that has passed the Senate, which prioritizes investments in our nation’s “hard” infrastructure. The President’s Build Back Better agenda employs a broader conception of infrastructure by making critical investments in human capital, the care economy, research and development, public education, and more, which will reduce families’ costs.
While we all have different views on the particulars of various economic policies, we believe that key components of this broader agenda are critical—including tax reforms that make our tax system more equitable and that enable our system to raise the additional funds required to facilitate necessary public investments and achieve our collective goals. Because this agenda invests in long-term economic capacity and will enhance the ability of more Americans to participate productively in the economy, it will ease longer-term inflationary pressures.
Signed by 17 recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences:


EPI founders include Jeff Faux, EPI’s first president, economist Barry Bluestone of Northeastern University, Robert Kuttner, columnist for Business Week and Newsweek and editor of The American Prospect, Ray Marshall, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas-Austin, Gerald McEntee of AFSCME Robert Reich, former U.S. secretary of labor and professor at UC Berkeley and economist Lester Thurow of the MIT Sloan School of Management.


From its findings;[8]

EPI publishes books, studies, issue briefs, popular education materials, and other publications; sponsors conferences and seminars; briefs policy makers at all levels of government; provides technical support to national, state, and local activists and community organizations; testifies before national, state, and local legislatures; and provides information and background to the print and electronic media. Over the course of a year, EPI is called upon hundreds of times to inform policy debates, citizens’ group meetings, and educational forums. Moreover, EPI is typically cited more than 3,000 times a year in the print media alone, and its staff is seen or heard by approximately 85 million television and radio viewers and listeners.


EPI’s staff includes eight Ph.D.-level researchers, a half dozen policy analysts and research assistants, and a full communications and outreach staff. EPI also works closely with a national network of scholars.


Economic Policy Institute Board of Directors, 2011;[9]

Economic Policy Institute Board of Directors, 2009;

EPI research associates

EPI research associates, as at 2010;[10]

EPI staff

As of 2011;[11]

Office of the President

Senior Staff


Media Relations




External and Government Affairs

Finance & Administration

Research and Policy

Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN)

Board of Directors 2021

As of November 2, 2021, the following individuals were listed as Board Members at the Economic Policy Institute website:[12]

Elizabeth H. Shuler is president of the 56 unions and 12.5 million members of the AFL-CIO. Prior to that, Shuler was elected as the AFL-CIO’s Secretary-Treasurer in 2009, becoming the first woman to serve in the position and the youngest woman ever on the federation’s Executive Council.
Malveaux is the dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at California State Los Angeles. She has worked as an economist, author, and commentator, and is the founder of Last Word Productions. She is currently the president and founder of Economic Education in Washington, D.C. Her most recent book, Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy, was published in 2016. She is an outspoken activist for issues surrounding race, culture, gender, and their economic impacts.
Bass became the executive director of the Bauman Foundation in July 2011. In 1983, he founded OMB Watch, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that promotes greater government accountability and transparency and increased citizen participation in public policy decisions, and he directed it until moving to the Bauman Foundation. In addition to his role at the Bauman Foundation, Bass is an affiliated professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, where he teaches about nonprofit advocacy and social change. Bass received a combined doctorate in psychology and education from The University of Michigan.
Nina Banks is associate professor of economics and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Women’s & Gender Studies and in Africana Studies, a program that she co-developed with Carmen Gillespie. Her publications focus on social reproduction and migrant households, black women and work, and the economics of the first black economist in the U.S.—Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander. Professor Banks teaches courses on U.S. women’s economic history, gender and migration, and poverty in the U.S., and she is the inaugural director of the Bucknell-in-Ghana study abroad program.
Thomas M. Conway was elected by the International Executive Board to succeed retiring International President Leo Gerard as leader of the United Steelworkers (USW), the largest industrial union in North America, effective July 15, 2019. Previously, Conway served as International Vice President (Administration), a position he held since March 1, 2005. Conway was re-elected four times, most recently in November 2017.
Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán is a professor at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is also a professor in the Ph.D. programs in sociology and in urban education at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center. Prior to joining the School of Public Affairs at CUNY, Cordero-Guzmán was a program officer in the Economic Development and the Quality Employment units of the Asset Building and Community Development Program at the Ford Foundation.
Cortés is the national co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a nonprofit organization founded in Chicago by the late Saul Alinsky. Cortés’ affiliation with the IAF officially began in 1972 when he attended the organization’s organizer training institute in Chicago. In the following years Cortés founded community-based organizations in cities throughout Texas and the southwest that are now called the Southwest IAF Network. Cortés has received numerous awards and fellowships for his work, including most recently the H. J. Heinz Award for Public Policy and an appointment as a Martin Luther King Visiting Professor at MIT in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Keith Ellison was sworn in as Minnesota’s 30th attorney general on January 7, 2019. From 2007 to 2019, he represented Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he championed consumer, worker, environmental, and civil- and human-rights protections for Minnesotans. He served for 12 years on the House Financial Services Committee, where he helped oversee the financial services industry, the housing industry, and Wall Street, among others. Before being elected to Congress, Attorney General Ellison served four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Prior to entering elective office, he spent 16 years as an attorney specializing in civil rights and defense law. Ellison received his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1990.
As the founding president of EPI in 1986, Faux has been credited with making EPI the country’s leading think tank on the political and economic issues faced by American workers. He has also worked as an economist for the departments of State, Labor, and Commerce. (EPI publications by Jeff Faux.)
Jose Garza is the Executive Director of the Workers Defense Project. He is a San Antonio, Texas native who has spent his career fighting for working people, lifting up low-income communities, and protecting immigrants. He began his career practicing law on the border, first as an assistant public defender at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. and later as an assistant federal public defender in the Western District of Texas.
Ghilarducci is a labor economist and nationally recognized expert in retirement security. She serves as the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Chair of Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research and director of the Retirement Equity Lab (ReLab). Her 2015 book, How to Retire With Enough Money: And How To Know What is Enough, provides a commonsense blueprint to successfully save for retirement. Ghilarducci’s 2008 book, When I’m Sixty-Four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them, investigates the effect of pension losses on older Americans and proposes necessary reforms to ensure retirement security. (EPI publications by Teresa Ghilarducci.)
Elise Gould, elected union representative to the board, is one of the longest continuously active members of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union. During her tenure with the union, she has regularly provided technical assistance to unit leadership and the bargaining team and has served on various committees including several hiring committees, setting racial equity standards in the workplace, and the workplace design team for the office move. As a senior economist, Gould’s research centers on the labor market, including work on employment, wages, race and gender disparities, and economic inequality. She holds a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (EPI publications by Elise Gould.)
Hacker is the director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, and Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He is also a board member of The Century Foundation and The American Prospect, a member of the Scholars Strategy Network steering committee, and a former Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. An expert on the politics of U.S. health and social policy, he is author of several books about economic insecurity and the need for health care reform, including Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.
Chief Economist Susan Helper is on leave from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, where she is the Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics. She was formerly the chair of the Economics Department, and has been a visiting scholar at University of Oxford, the University of California (Berkeley), Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research focuses on the globalization of supply chains, and on how U.S. manufacturing might be revitalized.
Mary Kay Henry is international president of Service Employees International Union, where she has worked since 1979. She was elected to the SEIU International Executive Board in 1996. After her election as an SEIU international executive vice president in 2004, she led efforts to build a stronger voice for health care workers.
Johnson is president of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a senior fellow and director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York. He recently served on the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform. Previously he served as managing director at Soros Fund Management and Bankers Trust Company, and as chief economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and senior economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.
Kuttner is the co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect and a professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School. He is also a co-founder of the Economic Policy Institute. In 1996 he was the winner of the Paul Hoffman Award for Human Development of the United Nations, for his work on the relationship of economic efficiency to social equality. He is the author of 12 books, most recently: Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? (2018) and The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy (2019). He regularly writes on political and economic issues. (EPI publications by Robert Kuttner.)
Liebman is serving as a visiting distinguished scholar, 2015–16, at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations. She served as chair of the National Labor Relations Board from January 2009 to August 2011. She was first appointed to the NLRB by President Bill Clinton and was reappointed by President Bush. Before joining the NLRB, Liebman served as deputy director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Prior positions include labor counsel for the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, legal counsel to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and staff attorney with the NLRB.
Lisa M. Lynch is Provost and the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Lynch served as chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor from 1995 to 1997 and has been a faculty member at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, the Sloan School of Management at MIT, Ohio State University, and the University of Bristol. She has published extensively on how young adults transition from school to work, the returns to public and private investments in training in the United States and in other countries, and the role of organizational innovation for productivity and wages.
Robert Martinez Jr. currently serves as the International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Previous to his installment as International President, Martinez served as IAM Headquarters General Vice President (GVP) with responsibility for IAM Headquarters and the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center. A United States Navy veteran, Martinez began his IAM career in 1980 as a member of Local 776A in Fort Worth, Texas, after being hired as an Aircraft Assembler at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth Division.
Ness is the president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Before assuming her current role, she served as executive vice president for 13 years. Ness has played a leading role in positioning the organization as a powerful and effective advocate for today’s women and families, and she serves on the boards of some of the most influential organizations working to improve health care. Previously, Ness worked in numerous capacities at the Service Employees International Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.
Pastor is a professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, where he directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). Pastor has co-authored many books, including his latest volume with Chris Benner, Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas (UC Press 2015). Pastor is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC and was awarded the Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year in 2012 from the Liberty Hill Foundation in recognition of his many research partnerships with social justice organizations.
Lori Pelletier resigned her position as Connecticut AFL-CIO President on November 30, 2018, to become Vice President and Executive Director with American Income Life. American Income Life (AIL) has served working class families since 1951 with life, accident, and supplemental health products to help protect members of labor unions, credit unions, associations, and their families. Pelletier’s role as Vice President with AIL will be to work with the country’s most prominent labor organizations and leaders to provide insurance options to their affiliates and members.
Perez currently serves as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Prior to chairing the DNC, Perez served as the 26th U.S. Secretary of Labor, fighting to protect and expand opportunities for America’s working people—from better wages and overtime pay to retirement security and collective bargaining rights.
NEA president Becky Pringle is a fierce social justice warrior, defender of educator rights, an unrelenting advocate for all students and communities of color, and a valued and respected voice in the education arena. A middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, Becky is singularly focused on using her intellect, passion, and purpose to unite the members of the largest labor union with the entire nation and using that collective power to fulfill the promise of public education.
Saunders is president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, which represents 1.6 million members. Previously he served as secretary-treasurer. Saunders began his career with AFSCME in 1978 as a labor economist. He has served in the capacities of assistant director of research and collective bargaining services, director of community action, deputy director of organizing and field services, and executive assistant to the international president.
Christopher M. Shelton currently serves as the president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Previously, Shelton was vice president of CWA District 1, representing 160,000 members in more than 300 CWA locals in New Jersey, New York, and New England. Shelton started his union career when he went to work for New York Telephone in 1968 as an outside technician. He was elected a CWA Local 1101 shop steward in 1968 and served Local 1101 in various positions until December 1988 when he joined the CWA national staff.
Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.6-million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state, and federal employees; and early childhood educators. Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 12 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2.

Executive Committee Members