Insights Blog

2021 Annual Report | Director's Message

May 12, 2022

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The pandemic’s unequal effects on American families and workers laid bare fault lines in the systems and institutions that organize our lives, including the labor market and economy. Shutdowns in response to the virus wiped out jobs and livelihoods for many, required others to risk their lives as essential workers, while enabling some to work from home.

At the Schwartz Center, we see the intersections between these inequitable outcomes and the policy issues we need to create a better future. Our team of engaged scholars based at The New School for Social Research in New York City led the effort for change in the service of two goals: 1) helping those who suffered or are still suffering; and 2) changing the systems that exposed these individuals, families, and communities to inequitable policies that have always had disparate impacts.

Our economists meet these challenges by providing research and policy insights to help policymakers, the media, and the public understand how our economy affects people, and by developing equitable solutions for working families. As we emerge and heal from the pandemic’s threat to our health and communities, SCEPA views this research as a starting point to advance opportunities that allow workers and families to prosper, by reforming systems that serve a privileged few rather than the many. These systems include retirement and healthcare, workers’ rights and bargaining power, public infrastructure investments, and renewable energy, among others. This work advances our belief that a just transition is the only way to ensure a more sustainable and equitable future for our workers and our planet.

Highlights of our team’s achievements in 2021 include:

  • Working to make the teaching of economics more relevant to today’s social and economic issues, through a research collaboration with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation on the “Future of Heterodox Economics.”
  • Presenting testimony on wealth and retirement inequality before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor.
  • Generating more than 100 press hits on our research from outlets including Bloomberg, the Los Angeles Times, NBC News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others, including a two-series profile of SCEPA’s retirement research in Barron’s.
  • Obtaining a grant from One Project, a nonprofit dedicated to progressive systems change, to bring diverse perspectives into mainstream economic thought by re-orienting how future economists are trained.
  • Presenting an “Economics of Climate Change” workshop sharing new research on climate policy, including green bonds, climate justice, the carbon wealth tax, and cryptocurrency.
  • Celebrating the Schwartz Center’s 25th anniversary by continuing our tradition of using our network’s mission-based research to support policies that improve the lives of the working class.

Our team’s accomplishments in 2021 lay the foundation for moving forward in action. But we do not do it alone. We are grateful to our many supporters, partners, and stakeholders, including Bernard L. Schwartz and our colleagues at The New School.

Teresa Ghilarducci,


Return to the 2021 Annual Report or read more about our ResearchPolicy Highlights, Press, Engagement, or Partnerships and Support.