Alice Rivlin

  • 2001 Frances Perkins Fellow

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  • Alice M. Rivlin is a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, Director of the Greater Washington Research project, and a Visiting Professor at the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University. An expert on fiscal and monetary policy, social policy, and urban issues, Rivlin served as the vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board from 1996 to 1999, where she played an instrumental role in designing monetary policy. She was director of the White House Office of Management and Budget from 1994 to 1996, helping to transform a budget deficit of more than $200 billion into substantial surpluses by the end of the decade. She founded the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in 1975 and served as its director until 1983, creating a structure that continues to serve as an independent institution guiding Congressional action on spending and revenue legislation through high-quality, nonpartisan work. Prior to heading the CBO, Rivlin served as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. She has also chaired the District of Columbia Financial Management and Assistance Authority.

    In receiving the 2002 Elliot L. Richardson Prize for Excellence in Public Service, Rivlin was cited for displaying “a life-long fascination with the application of rigorous analysis to public policy decision-making” and for her “intellectual force, hard work, and personal courage” in advancing major improvements in public administration at the national and local levels. In 2004, she was lauded by Roger W. Ferguson, then Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, as having “maintained the trust and confidence of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, everyone and everybody.”

    Rivlin is the author of Systematic Thinking for Social Action (1971), which argues for using policy analysis to improve the effectiveness of social programs. In Reviving the American Dream: The Economy, the States, and the Federal Government (1992), Rivlin laid out a plan for long-term economic improvement in the United States. She is also co-author (with Robert Litan) of Beyond the Dot.coms (2001), exploring the Internet’s impact on productivity. Rivlin is co-editor of the Restoring Fiscal Sanity series: Restoring Fiscal Sanity: How to Balance the Budget (2004, with Isabel Sawhill) Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2005: Meeting the Long-Run Challenges (with Isabel Sawhill), and Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2007: The Health Spending Challenge (with Joseph Antos), as well as of The Economic Payoff from the Internet Revolution (2001, with Robert Litan). In 2008 she authored “Envisioning Opportunity: Three Options for a Community College in Washington, D.C.” and in 2007 “Slowing the Growth of Health Spending: We Need Mixed Strategies, and We Need to Start Now.” Rivlin has received a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, and has taught at Harvard, George Mason, and New School Universities. Most recently Rivlin, along with former Senator Pete Domenici, was named co-chair of the Debt Reduction Task Force sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C.  They will seek to find policy recommendations to reverse the forecasted exceedingly high debt of the United States. 

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