Reflections on a Pioneering Career in Economics and Public Policy Research | Episode 61
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Reflections on a Pioneering Career in Economics and Public Policy Research | Episode 61

Our guest for this episode of On the Evidence is Anita Summers, a former member of Mathematica's Board of Directors and a pioneer in the fields of economics and public policy research. Summer's career includes research posts with the National Bureau of Economic Research, Standard Oil, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. During her time at the Federal Reserve, she developed expertise in urban economic development and education. Summers has held a variety of academic appointments, including as a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where she started the first public policy department in a business school. From 1993 through 2019, Summers was also a member of Mathematica’s board of directors, serving as board chair for most of that time.

On the latest episode of On the Evidence, Summers shares what it was like to embark on a career in economics as a woman in the 1940s, the sexism she encountered, how she navigated those challenges, and the role her family played in her career choices. As an early practitioner of using data and statistical analysis to inform contemporary policy debates, she also weighs in on how the field of evidence-based policy has changed and what lies ahead for the profession.

Find a full transcript of the episode here: https://www.mathematica.org/blogs/reflections-on-a-pioneering-career-in-economics-and-public-policy-research

Read Summers’s article from 1973 on equity in school financing for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Business Review: https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/title/business-review-federal-reserve-bank-philadelphia-5580/march-1973-557534/equity-school-financing-523404

Read Summers’s article from 1975 on measuring the effect of school resources on learning for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Business Review: https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/title/business-review-federal-reserve-bank-philadelphia-5580/february-1975-557556/school-resources-help-learning-efficiency-equity-philadelphia-public-schools-523479

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