For Immediate Release | November 15, 2019


Griffin Murphy, 202-243-7284

The National Academy of Social Insurance has launched a new Study Panel on Economic Security, with thirty experts (see list below) from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, to produce a comprehensive report on income supports and related policies within our nation’s range of economic security programs. The nation’s social insurance infrastructure effectively serves millions of Americans, but rising inequality and demographic changes are among a number of factors exposing gaps in programs initially established during the Great Depression.

The Study Panel’s report will identify options for how current social insurance and social assistance programs might be modified to adapt to current economic challenges facing Americans, including a range of potential funding sources needed to fill gaps. The Study Panel expects to issue a final report by the end of 2020.

“This is a crucial undertaking at this moment in time as, historically, employer-based work has been the primary means through which most Americans have sought income security. While this remains the case today, a plethora of statistics show that employer-based work is decreasing over time and that income security for many who are working is lacking,” noted William Rodgers III, Chief Economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. “The greater financial uncertainty has increased the anxiety of a growing number of Americans, their families, and their communities.”

The Study Panel will be co-chaired by three of the Academy’s officers: William Rodgers III (Board Chair), Reneé Landers (Board Vice Chair), and Jason Fichtner (Treasurer). Kathryn Anne Edwards, Associate Economist, RAND Corporation and Professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School, will serve as Principal Investigator. The Academy’s CEO, William Arnone, will direct the overall project.

“The Study Panel’s activities,” Kathryn Edwards explains, “will be guided by four working groups of panel members: Early Life; Middle Life; Late Life; and Financing. The three life-stage working groups will examine policy options to address existing shortfalls in income security for their given subsets of the population. As the ages for these stages of life vary depending on a given individual, the working groups have not set specific ages for each.

The Financing working group will examine options for raising revenue and the potential impacts of utilizing a given revenue source. The Panel as a whole will then work to outline policy packages for income security across the lifespan, given the revenue constraints analyzed by the Financing group.

Inspired by the 1935 Committee on Economic Security, the Study Panel will focus on the Committee’s goal for an ideal economic security system:

“A program of economic security, as we vision it, must have as its primary aim the assurance of an adequate income to each human being in childhood, youth, middle age, or old age—in sickness or in health.” – Report to the President of the Committee on Economic Security

“The extent to which this overarching goal of ‘assured income’ may be achieved through work, social insurance, social assistance, tax credits, and a guaranteed income,” notes William Arnone, “is the key question the Panel will address as it deliberates over the next twelve to fourteen months.”

The Economic Security Study Panel includes economists, lawyers, and business professionals, in addition to a number of individuals with experience with the federal government, state government, labor unions, actuarial science, social work, the community of people with disabilities, and other sectors.


Study Panel Members

*Jason J. Fichtner, Co-Chair, Associate Director of the Master’s in International Economics and Finance and Senior Lecturer of International Economics, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

*Renée M. Landers, Co-Chair, Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law Concentration, Suffolk University Law School

*William M. Rodgers III, Co-Chair, Professor of Public Policy and Chief Economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University

Nancy J. Altman , President, Social Security Works and Chair, Strengthen Social Security Coalition

Peter Barnes, Author, With Liberty and Dividends for All

Lily Batchelder, Robert C. Kopple Family Professor of Law, New York University

Heather Boushey, President & CEO and Co-founder, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

*Harry Conaway, Executive Director, Policy Futures Network

Peter B. Edelman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy and Faculty Director, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Georgetown University Law Center

Christina FitzPatrick, Policy Development and Integration Director, AARP

*Howard Fluhr, Chairman Emeritus, The Segal Group

*Martha Ford, Senior Advisor, Public Policy, The Arc

Laura A. Fortman, Commissioner, Maine Department of Labor

Robert Greenstein, Founder and President, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Samuel Hammond, Director of Poverty and Welfare Policy, Niskanen Center

Bradley L. Hardy, Associate Professor Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University

G. William Hoagland, Senior Vice President, Bipartisan Policy Center

*Kilolo Kijakazi, Institute Fellow and Director of the Integrated Financial Coaching Project, Urban Institute

Elaine Maag, Principal Research Associate, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

Joseph J. Minarik, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Committee for Economic Development

David Nexon, President and Founder, Nexon Policy Insights

David R. Riemer, Author, Putting Government in its Place             

Kathleen Romig, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

James Roosevelt, Jr., Health Care Attorney, Verrill Dana and Clinical Instructor, Tufts University School of Medicine

Suzanne Simonetta, Federal Policy Analyst

Timothy M. Smeeding, Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

William E. Spriggs, Professor of Economics, Howard University and Chief Economist, AFL-CIO

Andrew L. Stern, Senior Fellow, Economic Security Project

*Rebecca Vallas, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Stephen A. Wandner, Research Fellow, Upjohn Institute and Visiting Fellow, Urban Institute

*National Academy of Social Insurance Board Member

Since its founding in 1986, the National Academy of Social Insurance has provided rigorous inquiry and insights into the functioning of our nation’s social insurance programs – Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation. Comprised of over 1,000 of the nation’s top experts in social insurance and related policies and programs, the Academy studies how social insurance can continue to meet the changing needs of American families, employees, and employers, including new frontiers for social insurance. To learn more about the Academy’s work, please visit, or follow @socialinsurance on Twitter.

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