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2017 APPAM Fall Research Conference Symposium: The Vital Role of Government Statistics

now available on demand

Duration:90 minutes


Public policy decisions must be informed with reliable data and information, much of which is collected and published by federal agencies. Recently, there has been increased criticism of the federal indicators that measure the economy and social conditions in the U.S. This distinguished panel will respond to the recent joint report by the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, In Order That They Might Rest Their Arguments on Facts: The Vital Role of Government-Collected Data. The panel will focus on the important data and measures that we use every day and look to the future of federal statistics to suggest how the government can provide better data for better policy decisions.

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David Johnson

Director of PSID and Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research
University of Michigan

Dr. Johnson’s research interests include the measurement of inequality and mobility (using income, consumption and wealth), the effects of tax rebates, equivalence scale estimation, poverty measurement, and price indexes. He also worked for many years in the Federal Statistical System, including experience in administrative data linkages. He also serves as Deputy Director of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

Raphael Bostic

President and Chief Executive Officer
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Dr. Raphael W. Bostic took office June 5, 2017, as the 15th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He is responsible for all the Bank's activities, including monetary policy, bank supervision and regulation, and payment services. In addition, he serves on the Federal Reserve's chief monetary policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

From 2012 to 2017, Bostic served as the Judith and John Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC). He arrived at USC in 2001 and served as a professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development. His research has spanned many fields, including home ownership, housing finance, neighborhood change, and the role of institutions in shaping policy effectiveness. He was director of USC's master of real estate development degree program and was the founding director of the Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast.

Bostic also served USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate as the interim associate director from 2007 to 2009 and as the interim director from 2015 to 2016. From 2016 to 2017, he served as the chair of the center's Governance, Management, and Policy Process department. From 2009 to 2012, Bostic served as assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In that role, he was a principal adviser to the secretary on policy and research, helping the secretary and other principal staff make informed decisions on HUD policies and programs, as well as on budget and legislative proposals.

Erica L. Groshen

Former Commissioner
The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Dr. Erica L. Groshen earned a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. She was a visiting assistant professor of economics at Barnard College at Columbia University and an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Dr. Groshen joined the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1994 and held the position of Vice President in the Research and Statistics Group. She was a visiting economist at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, in 1999–2000. She also served on advisory boards for BLS and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Her economics research has focused on labor markets over the business cycle, regional economics, wage rigidity and dispersion, the male-female wage differential, and the role of employers in labor market outcomes. Erica L. Groshen became the 14th Commissioner of Labor Statistics in January 2013.

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Director, Institute for Policy Research
Northwestern University

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is the director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University and the Margaret Walker Alexander Professor at the University. From 2015-2017, she was the director of The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative housed at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. She is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty, and a nonresident senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

Diane studies issues related to child poverty, including education policy, child health, and food consumption. Much of her research investigates the longer-run impacts of early life experiences, such as the impacts of receiving SNAP benefits during childhood, the impacts of kindergarten classroom quality, and the impacts of early childhood education. She recently served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Examination of the Adequacy of Food Resources and SNAP Allotments.

Michael Strain

Director, Economic Policy Studies; John G. Searle Scholar
American Enterprise Institute

Michael R. Strain is the John G. Searle Scholar and director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He oversees the institute’s work in economic policy, financial markets, poverty studies, technology policy, energy economics, health care policy, and related areas.

Before joining AEI, Dr. Strain worked in the Center for Economic Studies at the US Census Bureau and in the macroeconomics research group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.A frequent guest on radio and television, Dr. Strain is regularly interviewed by news networks including CNBC and NPR. He has testified before Congress and speaks often to a variety of audiences.

Dr. Strain has a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University. He is a graduate of Marquette University and holds an M.A. from New York University.

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