Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Analysis and
Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA)
Economist Teresa Ghilarducci sees The New School as “an enterprise to design systems that help people live and work better in society.” In her recent book When I’m Sixty-Four: The Plot against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them, Ghilarducci discusses developing systems to guarantee all working people a dignified and secure retirement. Perhaps because she grew up in a low-income family, Ghilarducci developed a desire to improve society through economic and social policy. As a 21-year-old, she consulted with unionized workers at Stanford University about their benefits and helped them choose pension plans. This experience started her on the path to a career in labor economics, which has now spanned more than two decades and a variety of roles in different organizations.
President Clinton appointed Ghilarducci to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Advisory Board, which is charged with protecting the pensions of workers in the public sector. Ghilarducci has also served on the board of trustees of the Indiana Public Employees’ Retirement Fund (PERF). Since 2010, she has represented the International Brotherhood of Teamsters as director of YRC Worldwide Inc., one of the largest transportation providers in the world. And, of course, Ghilarducci has worked in higher education, first as a professor at the University of Notre Dame, where she taught for 25 years, and now as the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Analysis. She also serves as the director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) at The New School.
Ghilarducci decided to come to The New School because the department “places economic theory in the context of broader society.” She says, “We study the history of how economies develop, how institutions regulate, and how laws evolve. Mostly, the faculty is interested in the distribution of power among people.” This interest is evidenced in a sampling of her own students’ research topics: the high rates of incarceration of black boys and men, financing of public education, and the banking crisis, to name a few. Ghilarducci is particularly fascinated by the research of her colleague Lopamudra Banerjee on the economic effects of environmental disasters. The “intellectual ambition and accomplishment” of faculty members and students is what Teresa finds most inspiring about being a professor at The New School.