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Margaret C Simms

2012 Conference Co-Chair

Margaret C. Simms is an Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute and Director of the Institute's Low-Income Working Families project, a research initiative exploring challenges faced by 9 million families and their 19 million children. She serves as a co-chair of NASI’s 24th Annual Conference, Social Insurance in a Market Economy: Obstacles and Opportunities.

"When Margaret Simms worked at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, she was clearly the 'go-to' person at the organization for issues related to social insurance," said Wilhelmina A. Leigh, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. "Margaret spearheaded the Joint Center's work on Social Security and guided the development of the Center's polling about Social Security, wealth, and retirement security.  She is truly a valuable resource to all who have an interest in this field."

Simms re-joined the staff of the Urban Institute in July of 2007 following 21 years with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, where she was Vice President for Governance and Economic Analysis. Since starting with the Joint Center in 1986, she served as Director of Research Programs, Deputy Director of Research, Vice President for Research, and Senior Vice President for Programs.  During 2006, she served as Interim President of the Joint Center.  Immediately prior to going to the Joint Center, she was Director of the Minorities and Social Policy program at the Urban Institute. Simms was on the faculty of Atlanta University from 1972 to 1981. Prior to that, she was a faculty member at the University of California at Santa Cruz. In 1977 and 1978, Simms was a Brookings Economic Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has also served as a consultant to a number of organizations, including the U.S. Department of State, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Simms has edited many books and monographs on black economic well-being, including Job Creation Prospects and Strategies, with Wilhelmina A. Leigh (Washington, D.C.: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 1998),Economic Perspectives on Affirmative Action (Washington, D.C.: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 1995); Moving Up With Baltimore: Creating Career Ladders for Blacks in the Private Sector (Washington, D.C.: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 1991); and Slipping Through the Cracks: The Status of Black Women (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1986), co-edited with Julianne Malveaux.

Simms was editor of the Review of Black Political Economy from 1983 to 1988 and chaired the Board of Directors of the Institute for Women's Policy Research from 1993 to 1998. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005 and recently served as a member of the National Research Council Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States.  The National Economic Association presented her with the Samuel Z. Westerfield Award in 2008  and Carleton College awarded her an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2010.

Simms and her husband, Charles Betsey, love to travel and use overseas trips as an opportunity to practice photography.