“They’ve Managed to Bridge—Even Transcend—Partisan Divides”
The American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) is pleased to announce social policy experts Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill as the winners of the 2016 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize. Each year, the Moynihan Prize is given to a leading policy-maker, social scientist, or public intellectual whose career demonstrates the value of using social science evidence to advance the public good.
“The Academy proudly recognizes Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill as the winners of this year’s Moynihan Prize,” said AAPSS President Ken Prewitt. “Their commitment to creating strong public policy despite political differences and to encouraging civility and scientific partnership make Belle and Ron most worthy recipients of this award. Senator Moynihan spent a great deal of his career in public service working for evidence-based policies that support child development and strong families; the careers of Drs. Sawhill and Haskins are proof of that ideal continuing in public life today.”
Haskins and Sawhill were jointly nominated, making this the first time two awardees have been chosen to receive the prize. Their collaboration began in 2001, when they worked on the effects of welfare reform legislation with a shared goal of creating opportunity for children and families. Their collaboration led to the establishment of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution.
Their lengthy partnership is especially notable, given their ostensible political differences. Dr. Sawhill served in the Clinton Administration in the Office of Management and Budget at the same time that Dr. Haskins worked for the Republican Majority for the House Ways and Means Committee. Haskin later served as Senior Advisor for Welfare Policy in the second Bush Administration.
“What they’ve done together at the Brookings Institution is remarkable in two ways,” said Jason DeParle, a reporter at The New York Times who has covered welfare and other issues. “First, they’ve kept honest, data-rich analysis at the heart of highly ideological poverty debates, whether in books, briefs, op-eds, or congressional testimony. Second, they’ve managed to bridge—even transcend—partisan divides. As other Washington institutions grew more ideologically entrenched, they modeled a partnership that defied labels other than ‘indispensable.’”
Together they have been influential in reframing the debate about poverty and inequality, focusing on the issues of opportunity and intergenerational social mobility. Their co-authored work on this topic includes Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility in America (with Julia Isaacs) and Creating an Opportunity Society.
Their most recent books are also concerned with the ways in which evidence can be mustered in support of sound family policy. Dr. Haskins’s Show Me the Evidence is a history of the Obama Administration's attempt to improve social policy through evidence-based initiatives. Generation Unbound, by Dr. Sawhill, focuses on the explosion of births to adults in the U.S. that occur outside of marriage, the consequences of this trend, and how family policy might adapt.
Drs. Haskins and Sawhill jointly serve as editors of The Future of Children, a journal on policy issues that affect children and families, where they have taken leadership roles in keeping the issue of the family on the national agenda and encouraged continued research on these issues. They also co-direct the Budgeting for National Priorities project at Brookings. Haskins is current president—and Sawhill a past president—of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
Previous Moynihan Prize recipients include Rebecca Blank, Chancellor of University of Wisconsin–Madison and former acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve; Alice Rivlin, former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and the first director of the Congressional Budget Office; David Ellwood, former Dean and the Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School; Robert Greenstein, founder and executive director of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities; Diane Ravitch, a prominent historian of education and former assistant U.S. Secretary of Education; William Julius Wilson, a Harvard sociologist and a recipient of the National Medal of Science; and the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz.
The Moynihan Prize winners will give a public lecture on May 12, 2016, on Capitol Hill. Specific location and details forthcoming.
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The American Academy of Political and Social Science, based in Philadelphia, is one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and is dedicated to bringing evidence from the social sciences to bear in policy debates and in public discourse. The Moynihan Prize was created to honor the legacy of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the use of rigorous social science in service of the public good.
The 2016 Moynihan Lecture will be cosponsored by Sage Publications.