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Economist Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Expert in Labor Economics, Data Collection and Analysis Joins Elite Body

By Sara Gavin

Tydings Hall

Photo by John T. Consoli

Katharine Abraham (below), professor of economics and survey methodology, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

A University of Maryland economist frequently called on in recent months to interpret the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis for both policymakers and the public is among 276 artists, scholars, scientists and other leaders elected this year to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).

Katharine Abraham, professor of economics and survey methodology, was recognized for decades of research in areas including the contingent workforce, work and retirement decisions of older Americans, labor market adjustment over the business cycle, unemployment and job vacancies and the measurement of economic activity.

Katharine Abraham headshot“Katharine Abraham is a distinguished economist who has proved an innovative thinker about how to mitigate the challenges of unemployment and, more generally, on how data should be collected and analyzed to shape public policies relevant to economics,” said Gregory Ball, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. “She has served the University of Maryland and the federal government with a high level of excellence. Her membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is well-deserved.”

Abraham is the president of the Society of Labor Economists and chair of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth. She also serves as an adviser to the Congressional Budget Office, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In 2016, former President Barack Obama appointed her to chair the bipartisan Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking. From 2011 to 2013, she was a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and from 1993 to 2001, she served as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The news that I had been elected to the Academy came as a completely unexpected surprise,” Abraham said. “I am so honored to have been chosen to be a part of this distinguished group.”

Abraham joins 23 current UMD faculty members in the AAAS, as well as an elite company of past members that includes Benjamin Franklin (1781), Alexander Hamilton (1791), Maria Mitchell (1848), Charles Darwin (1874), Albert Einstein (1924) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966).

Along with Abraham, other new AAAS members in the academy’s 240th class include singer-songwriter-activist Joan Baez, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, filmmaker Richard Linklater, author Ann Patchett and American Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su.

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in surgical suites, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” said academy President David W. Oxtoby. “These new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the academy’s work to advance the public good.”

Click here to see the full list of newly elected members.

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