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Economic Policy Forum

Capitalism, Competition, and (In)equality


The Department of Economics is pleased to announce the 2019 – 2020 edition of the Economic Policy Forum. This year’s theme will be “Capitalism, Competition, and (In)equality.”

The series will lead off on October 2 with a talk by Robert Reich on “Saving Capitalism: Should We Even Try?”  Reich is the former Secretary of Labor, prominent political commentator, and author of numerous books on economic policy.  He is currently Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, among his other credits and appointments.

The second talk, “Re-Imagining Capitalism,” will be presented by Rebecca Henderson on Thursday, October 24. Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard Business School, where she co-teaches a hugely popular course by this title.  That course won the 2018 Aspen Institute Award for “Ideas Worth Teaching.”

The third talk will feature Jason Furman, on “Taming the Tech Giants” on Tuesday, November 19.  Furman is the former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama and lead author of the report to the UK government on “Unlocking Digital Competition.”  Furman teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

The Spring forum will feature Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize winning economist, and others. More information about the Spring series will be posted at a later date.

This year’s series is organized and hosted by Profs. John Kwoka and William Dickens of the Department of Economics.


Thursday, October 24

3:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Cabral Center,
John D. O’Bryant African American Institute

40 Leon St, Boston, MA 02115

Re-Imagining Capitalism

Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson is the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, where she has a joint appointment at the Harvard Business School in the General Management and Strategy units. Professor Henderson is also a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her work explores how organizations respond to large-scale technological shifts, most recently in regard to energy and the environment. She teaches Reimagining Capitalism in the MBA Program.

From 1998 to 2009, Professor Henderson was the Eastman Kodak Professor of Management at the Sloan School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she ran the strategy group and taught courses in strategy, technology strategy, and sustainability. She received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and a doctorate in business economics from Harvard.

Professor Henderson sits on the boards of Amgen and of IDEXX Laboratories, and she has worked with both members of the Fortune 100 and small, technology-orientated start-ups. She was retained by the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with the remedies phase of the Microsoft trial, and in 2001 she was named Teacher of the Year at the Sloan School. Her work has been published in a range of scholarly journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Research Policy, RAND Journal of Economics, and Organization Science.

Her most recent publication is Leading Sustainable Change: An Organizational Perspective, edited jointly with Ranjay Gulati and Michael Tushman, and published by the Oxford University Press.


Tuesday, November 19

3:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Raytheon Amphitheater, Egan Research Center

120 Forsyth Street, Boston, MA

Taming the Tech Giants

Jason Furman

Jason Furman is Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). He is also nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. This followed eight years as a top economic adviser to President Obama, including serving as the 28th Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from August 2013 to January 2017, acting as both President Obama’s chief economist and a member of the cabinet. During this time Furman played a major role in most of the major economic policies of the Obama Administration.

Previously Furman held a variety of posts in public policy and research. In public policy, Furman worked at both the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council during the Clinton administration and also at the World Bank. In research, Furman was a Director of the Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and also has served in visiting positions at various universities, including NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy.

Professor Furman has conducted research in a wide range of areas, including fiscal policy, tax policy, health economics, Social Security, technology policy, and domestic and international macroeconomics. In addition to articles in scholarly journals and periodicals, Furman is the editor of two books on economic policy. Furman holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Fall Inaugural Talk

Wednesday, October 2


ISEC Auditorium Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex

805 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02120

Saving Capitalism: Should We Even Try?

Robert Reich

Robert Reich is the Carmel P. Friesen Professor of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley.

Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He also served on President-Elect Obama’s transition advisory board. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, Aftershock and Beyond Outrage.

Professor Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His commentaries can be heard weekly on public radio’s Marketplace . In 2003, Reich was awarded the prestigious Vaclav Havel Vision Foundation Prize, by the former Czech president, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the ten most successful cabinet secretaries of the century. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

John Kwoka, j.kwoka@northeastern.edu

Kathleen Downey, k.downey@northeastern.edu
Jacquaetta Hester, j.hester@northeastern.edu


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Fall 2017 Economic Policy Forum