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News from EPI Economist Heidi Shierholz named president of the Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute’s Board of Directors has selected Heidi Shierholz—senior economist and director of policy at EPI—to serve as its new president.

“I am thrilled and honored to be named the next president of EPI,” Shierholz said. “Since its founding 35 years ago, EPI has shined a light on the fact that rising inequality, wage stagnation for most workers, and a rising Black–white wage gap are not ‘natural’ phenomena, but are the result of deliberate policy choices that have shifted power from workers to the wealthy.”

“The country is ready for economic policy that serves working people,” Shierholz continued. “As president, I will strengthen EPI’s ability to wield the power of its research and expertise to win real reforms that lead to economic justice for workers, racial justice, and gender equity.”

Shierholz, a labor market economist who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan, was an EPI economist from 2007 to 2014 before joining the Obama administration in 2014 as chief economist at the Department of Labor. In the administration, she developed and executed initiatives to boost workers’ rights, wages, and benefits and fought for new regulations guaranteeing overtime pay for millions of workers. Shierholz returned to EPI in 2017 to lead the policy team, where she has analyzed and informed wage and employment policies coming out of Congress and the administration and advanced a worker-first policy agenda.

Shierholz’s research and insights on labor and employment policy, wage stagnation, unions, inequality, unemployment benefits, and many other topics have routinely shaped policy proposals and informed economic news coverage. Shierholz has been an essential source of information on the impact of the pandemic on the economy and working people, and on the policies that are needed to generate a strong and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 recession.

As EPI’s president, Shierholz will work to build its capacity to fight for and win federal, state, and local legislative and regulatory reforms that support collective bargaining; increase worker power; improve wages, benefits, and working conditions; and reduce racial and gender inequities.

“With a progressive and ambitious administration, this is the moment EPI was created for 35 years ago—a moment when transformative change is possible but only if there is bold and creative intellectual leadership on behalf of working people,” said Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO and interim chair of EPI’s Board of Directors. “Heidi’s vision and depth of experience meets this moment, and EPI is ready at this extraordinary time to push forward the fight for economic, racial, and gender justice.”

Shierholz’s appointment comes after a national search for the person who would succeed former EPI president Thea M. Lee, who stepped down in May to serve as the deputy undersecretary for international labor affairs in President Biden’s administration.



The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States.