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Robert Pollin

Co-director, Political Economy Research Institute
and Professor of Economics
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Portrait of Robert Pollin

Since 1998, I have been a Professor of Economics and founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. From 1982 to 1998, I was an Assistant, then Associate then Full Professor at the University of California-Riverside. I received my B.A. in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972, having the privilege of studying with some great professors in what was then the outstanding progressive history department in the U.S, including Tom McCormick, Georges Haupt, Mauri Meisner, and the truly legendary Harvey Goldberg. I received my Ph.D. in economics at the New School for Social Research in 1982, which was then, as now, also a leading center for progressive research in the field of economics and political economy. I also had the great fortune there of studying with outstanding faculty members, including Paul Sweezy, Tom Vietoritz, David Gordon, Anwar Shaikh, and Bob Heilbroner. Harry Magdoff was also an informal advisor on my 1982 Ph.D. dissertation, which was called Corporate Financial Structures and the Crisis of U.S. Capitalism. Clearly, the fundamental problems with our financial system that are transparent now were also very much in evidence 30 years ago when I was writing that dissertation, Throughout my graduate school years, I also worked with Michael Tanzer, who was, and is, among the world’s most accomplished progressive energy economists and consultants.

Since finishing graduate school, my research has centered on macroeconomics, conditions for low-wage workers in the U.S. and globally, the analysis of financial markets, and the economics of building a clean-energy economy in the U.S. and globally. In addition to Back to Full Employment (2012), my books include A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States (co-authored, 2008); An Employment-Targeted Economic Program for Kenya (co-authored, 2008); An Employment-Targeted Economic Program for South Africa (co-authored, 2007); Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity (2003); The Living Wage: Building A Fair Economy (co-authored 1998); and the edited volumes Capitalism on Trial (co-edited, forthcoming); Human Development in the Era of Globalization (co-edited 2006); Capitalism, Socialism, and Radical Political Economy (2000); Globalization and Progressive Economic Policy (co-edited, 1998); The Macroeconomics of Saving, Finance, and Investment (1997); New Perspectives in Monetary Macroeconomics (co-edited 1994); and Transforming the U.S. Financial System (co-edited 1993).

I have also co-authored the studies Green Recovery (2008), The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy (2009), and Green Prosperity (2009) which explored the broader economic benefits of large-scale investments in building a clean-energy economy in the United States. A new monograph on this topic is forthcoming in Fall 2012 with the Center for American Progress. I have worked recently as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and numerous nongovernmental organizations on various aspects of building high-employment green economies, and am currently directing a project with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on this topic.

I have directed projects on employment creation and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from 2005 – 08. From the mid-1990s onward, I have separately worked with ACORN, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) and several other community organizations in the United States in support of living wage campaigns at both the state and municipal levels. I have also worked with the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and as a member of the Capital Formation Subcouncil of the U.S. Competitiveness Policy Council. In 1992, I was Economic Spokesperson for the Presidential Campaign of Governor Jerry Brown. Since 2006, I have been writing a regular column, Economic Prospects, for New Labor Forum.

I am currently a consultant and member of the Scientific Advisory Committee with the European Commission project on Financialization, Economy, Society, and Sustainable Development (FESSUD). I have also worked with the Americans for Financial Reform, the National Nurses Union, and SAFER on issues around restructuring the U.S. and European financial systems.

Outside of this research, writing, and advising work, I am also founder and President of PEAR (Pollin Energy and Retrofits), a private small business working to build the green economy in the U.S. and globally. Please visit the PEAR website for further information.

I live in Amherst, Massachusetts, with my wife Sigrid Miller Pollin, an architect and Professor of Architecture at UMass, and our two cats, Sugernose and Flournose. My mother Irene Pollin has a house down the street. My daughters are Emma Pollin and Hannah Pollin-Galay, and my son-in-law is Asaf Pollin-Galay. My truly amazing granddaughter is Ruthie Margalit Pollin-Galay. This site is dedicated to the memory and spirit of my father, the late Abe Pollin.

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