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Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

Incoming Assistant Professor, Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and New Member, Board of Directors

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is an incoming Assistant Professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and a newly elected member of the Academy’s board of directors. His research focuses on the politics of public policy and organized interests, especially business, in the United States. He has published academic work on corporate lobbying, the politics of unemployment insurance, state economic policy, and Medicaid, and has written numerous policy briefs related to Social Security and other social programs.

His forthcoming book, Politics at Work (Oxford University Press), examines how employers are increasingly recruiting their workers into politics and the implications of this practice for elections and public policy. Other ongoing projects examine the construction of cross-state lobbying networks of political activists and businesses, the rise of the Koch political network and its effects on the Republican Party, and new ways that wealthy donors are intervening in politics. He is also a co-author of the Academy publication A Young Person's Guide to Social Security, a curriculum for young adults to learn more about American social insurance programs.

“Alex is real asset to the social insurance community,” said Virginia Reno, Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy, Social Security Administration. “We are fortunate to have his insights as a member of the Academy’s Board of Directors. Six years ago, NASI published his groundbreaking call to action to help prevent the crushing burden of student debt,  A New Deal for Young Adults: Social Security Benefits for Post-Secondary School Students.  We welcome his leadership and his talents as a scholar, educator, and advocate.”

His research has been supported by fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Tobin Project, and the Harvard Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy.

A member of the Academy since 2016,Hertel-Fernandez holds a BA in political science from Northwestern University and an MA and PhD from Harvard University in government and social policy. In 2016, he was named one of Pacific Standard's "Top 30 Under 30" Thinkers. In his spare time, Hertel-Fernandez enjoys baking desserts and marathon-running, which he promises go together.