Melissa S. Kearney

Director, Aspen Economic Strategy Group

Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics, University of Maryland

MELISSA S. KEARNEY is the Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland. She is also director of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group; a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research; and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She serves on the Board of Directors of MDRC and on advisory boards for the Notre Dame Wilson-Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities and the Smith Richardson Foundation. Kearney previously served as Director of the Hamilton Project at Brookings and as co-chair of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative. Kearney’s research focuses on poverty, inequality, and social policy in the United States. Her work is published in leading academic journals and is frequently cited in the press. She is an editorial board member of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Journal of Economic Literature, and Demography; she was previously co-editor of the Journal of Human Resources and a Senior Editor of the Future of Children. Kearney teaches Public Economics at both the undergraduate and Ph.D. level at the University of Maryland. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT.


IN BRIEF: Cutting the Safety Net Is Not an Effective Way to Reduce Government Spending

BRIEFLY… High-stakes negotiations over the debt limit center on ways to bring government spending more in line with government revenues. The political contours of the debate have excluded cuts to Social Security and Medicare from consideration, as well as the possibility of raising taxes. With these options off the table, much of what is left ...

A Proposal for an Enhanced Partially Refundable Child Tax Credit

This proposal was produced in collaboration with The Hamilton Project. The proposal will be presented by Wendy Edelberg at a Hamilton Project event on March 1st and can be viewed here. INTRODUCTION The economic case for expanded income assistance to low-income families with children in this country is exceptionally strong. We have ample evidence showing ...

Introduction: Economic Policy in a More Uncertain World

Economic policymakers are confronting the highest inflation in a generation, energy supply shortages, and shifting geopolitical alliances. These challenges rightfully occupy news headlines and policy debates, but longer-run headwinds in the American economy also warrant focused attention. This volume aims to highlight three such challenges and provide constructive policy options for addressing them: the need ...

What’s After the Downturn?

AESG member Lawrence Summers and AESG director Melissa Kearney join Bloomberg TV’s David Weston to discuss what comes after the potential downturn and what the risks are of running out of workers.

The Causes and Consequences of Declining US Fertility

US births have fallen steadily since 2007 and the total fertility rate is now well below replacement level fertility—the rate at which the population replaces itself from one generation to the next. Our analysis suggests that this trend is unlikely to reverse in the coming years. The decline in births is widespread across demographic groups ...

Introduction: Rebuilding the Post-Pandemic Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic plunged the US economy into recession, challenged the survival of millions of businesses, and threatened the economic security of American households. The recession officially lasted only two months, ending in April 2020, but looming economic challenges remain and the path of the post-pandemic recovery is uncertain. The US labor market recovery is ...

How much have childcare challenges slowed the US jobs market recovery?

The US economy lost a net of 8 million jobs between February 2020 and April 2021. Agreement is growing that people not actively seeking employment (inadequate labor supply) has been playing a major role in the slow recovery, as evidenced by factors including record job openings, the largest wage increases in decades, and other signs ...

Securing Our Economic Future: Introduction

The United States is currently gripped by deep uncertainty and economic anxiety. At the time of this writing, the United States is six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 190,000 Americans have died from COVID (CDC 2020); more than 13 million Americans remain unemployed (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020); and tens of thousands of businesses remain closed (Grossman 2020). Meanwhile, protests against racial injustice continue across the country, and in a number of tragic instances, they have been overtaken by violence. Wildfires rage through the northern Pacific states. In Oregon, 40,000 people have been evacuated and more than 1,500 square miles have burned. California has already experienced three of the top four largest wildfires in its history in this year alone. Perhaps more than any time in recent memory, the economic future of our country feels uncertain.

Taskforce Report: Promoting Economic Recovery After COVID-19

This report puts forward a set of policies that should be part of the next wave of fiscal policy aimed at bolstering individuals and workers, small and mid-sized businesses, and state and local governments during a sustained recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.