Experts

Research AssociatesStaffBoard of DirectorsAbout EPI

Josh Bivens
Director of Research

David Cooper
Senior Economic Analyst | Deputy Director of EARN

Daniel Costa
Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research

Jeff Faux
Founding President and Distinguished Fellow

Emma García
Economist

Terri Gerstein
Senior Fellow

Elise Gould
Senior Economist

Thea M. Lee
President

Celine McNicholas
Director of Government Affairs | Labor Counsel

Lawrence Mishel
Distinguished Fellow

Zane Mokhiber
Data Analyst

Monique Morrissey
Economist

Margaret Poydock
Policy Associate

Lynn Rhinehart
Senior Fellow

Richard Rothstein
Distinguished Fellow

John Schmitt
Vice President

Robert E. Scott
Senior Economist and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research

Heidi Shierholz
Senior Economist and Director of Policy

Naomi Walker
Director of EARN

Valerie Wilson
Director, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy

Julia Wolfe
State Economic Analyst

Jaimie Worker
Senior State Policy Coordinator

Ben Zipperer
Economist


Josh Bivens

Director of Research

Areas of expertise
Macroeconomics • Globalization • Social insurance • Public investment

Biography
Josh Bivens is the director of  research at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). His areas of research include macroeconomics, fiscal and monetary policy, the economics of globalization, social insurance, and public investment. He frequently appears as an economics expert on news shows, including the Public Broadcasting Service’s “NewsHour,” the “Melissa Harris-Perry” show on MSNBC, WAMU’s “The Diane Rehm Show,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and programs of the BBC.

As a leading policy analyst, Bivens regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress on fiscal and monetary policy, the economic impact of regulations, and other issues. He has also provided analyses for the annual meeting of Project LINK of the United Nations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Bivens is the author of Failure by Design: The Story behind America’s Broken Economy (EPI and Cornell University Press) and Everybody Wins Except for Most of Us: What Economics Really Teaches About Globalization (EPI). He is the co-author of The State of Working America, 12th Edition (EPI and Cornell University Press) and a co-editor of Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, No Jobs: Labor Markets and Informal Work in Egypt, El Salvador, India, Russia and South Africa (EPI).

His academic articles have appeared in the International Review of Applied Economics, the Journal of Economic Issues and the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Bivens has also provided peer-reviewed articles to several edited collections, including The Handbook of the Political Economy of Financial Crises (Oxford University Press), Public Economics in the United States: How the Federal Government Analyzes and Influences the Economy (ABC-CLIO), and Restoring Shared Prosperity: A Policy Agenda from Leading Keynesian Economists (AFL-CIO and the Macroeconomic Policy Institute).

Prior to becoming director of research, Bivens was a research economist at EPI. Before coming to EPI, he was an assistant professor of economics at Roosevelt University and provided consulting services to Oxfam America. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Education
Ph.D., Economics, New School for Social Research
B.A., Economics, University of Maryland at College Park


David Cooper

Senior Economic Analyst | Deputy Director of EARN

Areas of expertise
Poverty • State labor markets • Economic inequality and social mobility • Minimum wage • Wage theft

Biography
David Cooper conducts both national and state-level research, with a focus on the minimum wage, wage theft, employment and unemployment, poverty, and wage and income trends. He also coordinates and provides technical support to the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a national network of over 60 state-level policy research and advocacy organizations.

David’s analyses on the impact of minimum wage laws have been used by policymakers and advocates in city halls and statehouses across the country, as well as in Congress and the White House. He has testified in many states and cities on the challenges facing low-wage workers and their families, and has been interviewed and cited by numerous local and national media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and NPR.

Education
Master of Public Policy, Georgetown University
Bachelor of Arts, English and Government, Georgetown University


Daniel Costa

Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research

Areas of expertise
U.S. immigration law and policy • International labor migration • Farm labor • Forced migration

Biography

Daniel Costa is an attorney who first joined the Economic Policy Institute in 2010 and was EPI’s director of immigration law and policy research from 2013 to early 2018; he returned to this role in 2019 after serving as the California Attorney General’s senior advisor on immigration and labor. Costa’s areas of research include a wide range of labor migration issues, including governance of temporary labor migration programs, both high- and less-skilled migration, worksite enforcement, and immigrant workers’ rights, as well as farm labor, global multilateral processes related to migration, and refugee and asylum issues.

Costa has testified on immigration before the U.S. Congress and state governments, been quoted and cited by many major news outlets, and appeared on radio and television news. His commentaries have appeared in publications like The New York Times, Roll Call, Fortune, La Opinión, and others, and he was named one of “20 Immigration Experts to Follow on Twitter” by ABC News. Costa is currently a visiting scholar at the Global Migration Center at the University of California-Davis, and was previously a visiting scholar at U.C. Davis, School of Law (2019-2020) and an affiliated scholar with the University of California-Merced (2015-2017).

Prior to his tenure at EPI, Costa worked on developing the legal and normative framework for disaster response and humanitarian relief operations with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva, Switzerland, and completed the International Law Seminar with the UN International Law Commission. He was also a policy analyst at the Great Valley Center, a former University of California think tank, where he managed an immigrant integration program.

Education
LL.M., International and Comparative Law, Georgetown University Law Center
J.D., International Law, Syracuse University
B.A., Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley


Jeff Faux

Founding President and Distinguished Fellow

Areas of expertise
Political economy • International economics • Macroeconomics • Labor markets • Unions

Biography
Jeff Faux founded the Economic Policy Institute in 1986, and made it into the country’s leading think tank on the political and economic issues that working Americans face. In 2003, he stepped down as EPI’s president, and is now a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute. Faux has studied, taught and published on a wide variety of economic and political issues from the global economy to neighborhood community development, from monetary policy to political strategy. He is the author or co-author of six books, the latest being, The Servant Economy: Where America’s Elite is Sending the Middle Class (Wiley, 2012).

Faux worked as an economist in the Departments of State, Labor and Commerce, a manager in the finance industry, a blueberry farmer, and a member of a municipal planning board in the State of Maine. He’s been an advisor to governments, trade unions, businesses, political campaigns, and community organizations. He’s lectured in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, sits on the boards of several of non-profit institutions and magazines, has written articles for numerous newspapers, magazines and journals, has testified before Congress, and has appeared many times on television and radio.

Education
Queens College, George Washington University, and Harvard University
Honorary Degree, University of New England


Emma García

Economist

Areas of expertise
Economics of education • Education policy • Quantitative methods • Program evaluation

Biography
Emma García joined the Economic Policy Institute in 2013. She specializes in the economics of education and education policy. Her areas of research include analysis of the production of education (cognitive and noncognitive skills); returns to education; evaluation of educational interventions (early childhood, K–12, and higher education); educational equity; teacher labor markets; human development; international comparative education; and cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis in education. Prior to joining EPI, García held research positions at the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education, the Campaign for Educational Equity, the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, and the Community College Research Center, all at Teachers College, Columbia University; and did consulting work for MDRC, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the National Institute for Early Education Research. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University.

Education
Ph.D., Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
M.A., Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences, Columbia University
B.A., Economics, Pompeu Fabra University


Terri Gerstein

Senior Fellow

Areas of expertise
Workers’ rights • Workplace law enforcement

Biography 
Terri Gerstein is the director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program and a senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute. She recently completed an Open Society Foundations Leadership in Government Fellowship. Previously, she was the Labor Bureau chief in the New York State Attorney General’s Office and a deputy commissioner in the New York State Department of Labor. Prior to her government service, Gerstein worked at nonprofit organizations in Miami, representing immigrant workers and domestic violence survivors, and co-hosting a Spanish-language radio show on workers’ rights. She was a law clerk to the Honorable Mary Johnson Lowe in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Her writing on workers’ rights issues has appeared in publications including The New York TimesThe Washington PostSlateThe GuardianThe American ProspectThe HillThe Nation, and the New York Daily News.

Education
A.B., Harvard College
J.D., Harvard Law School


Elise Gould

Senior Economist

Areas of expertise
Wages • Poverty • Jobs • Health care • Economic mobility

Biography
Elise Gould joined EPI in 2003. Her research areas include wages, poverty, inequality, economic mobility and health care. She is a co-author of The State of Working America, 12th Edition. Gould authored a chapter on health in The State of Working America 2008/09; co-authored a book on health insurance coverage in retirement; published in venues such as The Chronicle of Higher EducationChallenge Magazine, and Tax Notes; and written for academic journals including Health Economics, Health Affairs, Journal of Aging and Social PolicyRisk Management & Insurance Review, Environmental Health Perspectives, and International Journal of Health Services. Gould has been quoted by a variety of news sources, including Bloomberg, NPR, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and her opinions have appeared on the op-ed pages of USA Today and The Detroit News. She has testified before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Maryland Senate Finance and House Economic Matters committees, the New York City Council, and the District of Columbia Council.

Education
Ph.D., Economics, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Master of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
B.A., Sociology, Wesleyan University


Thea M. Lee

President

Biography

Thea Lee is the president of the Economic Policy Institute. Lee has a longstanding relationship with EPI, having begun her career here as an international trade economist in the 1990s. Lee came to EPI from the AFL-CIO, a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women, where she served as deputy chief of staff. At the AFL-CIO, she developed a track record of conducting rigorous economic research, overseeing an ambitious policy agenda, and helping steer a large organization through change.

Lee has spent her career advocating on behalf of working families in national policy debates on issues such as wage inequality, workers’ rights, and fair trade. She is co-author of The Field Guide to the Global Economy, published by The New Press, and has authored numerous publications on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the impact of international trade on U.S. wage inequality, and the domestic steel and textile industries.

Lee has been a voice for workers in testimony before congressional committees and in television and radio appearances—including on PBS NewsHour, Good Morning America, NPR’s All Things Considered and Marketplace, Fox Business, and the PBS documentary Commanding Heights. She has also served on the State Department Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, the Export-Import Bank Advisory Committee, and the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research, among others. She currently serves on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, to which she was appointed by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, as well as the boards of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, the Center for International Policy, the Coalition for Human Needs, and the Progressive Talent Pipeline advisory council. She is also a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Trade Commission on Affirming American Leadership.

Lee holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Smith College. Lee lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and dog. She has one daughter, who teaches middle school in Brooklyn. She likes to cook, read, and travel.


Celine McNicholas

Director of Government Affairs | Labor Counsel

Areas of expertise
Labor and employment law • Collective bargaining • Union organizing • Regulatory policy

Biography
Celine McNicholas is EPI’s director of government affairs and labor counsel. An attorney, her current areas of work include a wide range of workers’ rights issues, including labor and employment law, collective bargaining, and union organizing. She was a core member of EPI’s Perkins Project on Worker Rights and Wages Policy Watch, an online resource that tracked federal actions affecting working people and the economy during the first year of the Trump administration. McNicholas continues to monitor and analyze the Trump administration’s labor and employment policies.

Before joining EPI in 2017, McNicholas served as director of congressional and public affairs and as special counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). At the NLRB, she counseled presidential nominees to the board and the general counsel throughout the Senate confirmation process. In addition, McNicholas was responsible for the agency’s congressional affairs work including all agency oversight matters. From 2009 to 2013, she served as senior labor counsel to Ranking Member George Miller (D-Calif.) for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce. She advised Rep. Miller on legal issues surrounding the Fair Labor Standards Act, National Labor Relations Act, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Davis Bacon Act, Service Contract Act, and project labor agreements. Before working for the committee, McNicholas was a legislative staffer for both U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak from Pennsylvania and U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas from Massachusetts.

A native of Philadelphia, McNicholas is an avid baseball fan, amateur baseball historian, and runner.

Education
J.D., Villanova University School of Law
B.A., Mount Holyoke College


Lawrence Mishel

Distinguished Fellow

Areas of expertise
Education • Labor markets • Income distribution and poverty • Industrial relations • Technology and productivity • Wages • Unions and collective bargaining

Biography
Lawrence Mishel is a distinguished fellow at EPI after serving as president from 2002–2017. Mishel first joined EPI in 1987 as research director. In the more than three decades he has been with EPI, Mishel has helped build it into the nation’s premier research organization focused on U.S. living standards and labor markets.

Mishel has co-authored all 12 editions of The State of Working America, a book that former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich says “remains unrivaled as the most-trusted source for a comprehensive understanding of how working Americans and their families are faring in today’s economy.” The State of Working America has been an invaluable resource in newsrooms, classrooms, and halls of power since 1988.

Mishel’s primary research interests include labor markets and education. He has written extensively on wage and job quality trends in the United States. He co-edited a research volume on emerging labor market institutions for the National Bureau of Economic Research. His 1988 research on manufacturing data led the U.S. Commerce Department to revise the way it measures U.S. manufacturing output. This new measure helped accurately document the long decline in U.S. manufacturing, a trend that is now widely understood.

Mishel leads EPI’s education research program. He has written extensively on charter schools, teacher pay, and high school graduation rates. His research with Joydeep Roy has shown that high school graduation rates are significantly higher than the rates that are often cited by education analysts. This work has enabled policymakers to more accurately assess the state of U.S. public education.

Mishel has testified before Congress on the importance of promoting policies that reduce inequality, generate jobs, improve the lives of American workers and their families, and strengthen the middle class. He also serves frequently as a commentator in print, broadcast, and online media.

Prior to joining EPI, Mishel held a number of research roles, including a fellowship at the U.S. Department of Labor. He also served as a faculty member at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Mishel also served as an economist for several unions, including the Auto Workers, Steelworkers, AFSCME, and the Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO. Mishel holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Originally from Philadelphia, he has four children and two grandsons and lives with his wife and his dog, Bella, in Washington, D.C.

Education
Ph.D., Economics, University of Wisconsin at Madison
M.A., Economics, American University
B.S., Pennsylvania State University


Zane Mokhiber

Data Analyst

Biography
Zane Mokhiber joined EPI in 2016. As a data analyst, he supports the research of EPI’s economists on topics such as wages, labor markets, inequality, trade and manufacturing, and economic growth. Prior to joining EPI, Zane worked for the Worker Institute at Cornell University as an undergraduate research fellow.

Education
B.S., Industrial and Labor Relations,
Cornell University ILR School


Monique Morrissey

Economist

Areas of expertise
Retirement security • Labor markets • Financial markets

Biography
Monique Morrissey joined the Economic Policy Institute in 2006. Her areas of interest include Social Security, pensions and other employee benefits, household savings, tax expenditures, older workers, public employees, unions, and collective bargaining, Medicare, institutional investors, corporate governance, executive compensation, financial markets, and the Federal Reserve. She is active in coalition efforts to reform our private retirement system to ensure an adequate, secure, and affordable retirement for all workers. She is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Prior to joining EPI, Morrissey worked at the AFL-CIO Office of Investment and the Financial Markets Center.

Education
Ph.D., Economics, American University
B.A., Political Science and History, Swarthmore College


Margaret Poydock

Policy Associate

Biography
Margaret Poydock joined EPI in 2016. As the policy associate, she assists the policy team in managing EPI’s legislative and policy initiatives to build a more just economy. Previously, Poydock was EPI’s communications assistant. In that position, she provided support for the media relations, publications, and web departments.

Education
B.S., Political Communication, Emerson College


Lynn Rhinehart

Senior Fellow

Areas of expertise
Labor and employment policy  •  Unions  •  Collective bargaining

Biography
Lynn Rhinehart is a senior fellow at EPI, where she works on labor and employment policy, with a focus on collective bargaining. Rhinehart was general counsel of the AFL-CIO from 2009 until July 2018. She joined the legal staff at the AFL-CIO as an associate general counsel in 1996. While at the AFL-CIO, she was the executive director of the Lawyers Coordinating Committee (LCC), a national organization of 2,000 union-side labor lawyers in law firms and legal departments. Prior to joining the AFL-CIO, Rhinehart clerked for the Honorable Joyce Hens Green of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor. Rhinehart has authored publications on enforcement of federal workplace safety laws, the contingent workforce, and other topics. She serves on the board of directors of the National Employment Law Project and the advisory board of the Harvard Law School “Clean Slate” labor law project.

Education
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
B.A., University of Michigan


Richard Rothstein

Distinguished Fellow

Areas of expertise
Education • Race and ethnicity

Biography
Richard Rothstein is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. He is also the author of many other articles and books on race and education, which can be found on his web page at the Economic Policy Institute: http://www.epi.org/people/richard-rothstein/. Previous influential books include Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black–White Achievement Gap and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right. He welcomes questions and comments at riroth@epi.org.


John Schmitt

Vice President

Areas of expertise
Economic inequality • Economic mobility • Minimum wage • Unemployment • Unions • Work–life balance •  Discrimination • International labor market comparisons

Biography
John Schmitt became EPI’s vice president on January 1, 2018, returning to where he started his career as an economist from 1995 to 2001. Following his earlier tenure at EPI, he spent 10 years as a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and, most recently, was the research director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Over the last two decades, he has also worked as a consultant to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Commission, the Solidarity Center, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and other national and international organizations.

Schmitt has published peer-reviewed research on unemployment, wage inequality, the minimum wage, unionization, immigration, technology, racial inequality, mass incarceration, and other topics. His popular writing has appeared in The American Prospect, Boston Review, BusinessWeek.com, Challenge, Democracy, Dissent, The Guardian, The International Herald Tribune, Salon, The Washington Post, and other publications. His research has been cited widely in the media including The Economist, Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Schmitt has also given talks on economic and policy issues to government, academic, union, and general audiences throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

At EPI, Schmitt was the co-author of three editions of The State of Working America. He was also a co-editor of Low-Wage Work in the Wealthy World (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010). From 1999 through 2015, he was a visiting professor in public policy at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.

Before joining EPI in 1995, Schmitt was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador, and then spent a year working as an information officer for the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL).

Education
Ph.D. and M.Sc. in economics, London School of Economics
A.B. in Public and International Affairs, Princeton University


Robert E. Scott

Senior Economist and Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research

Areas of expertise
International economics • Trade and manufacturing policies • Global finance • Foreign investment and “insourcing” • Industry studies

Biography
Robert E. Scott joined the Economic Policy Institute in 1997 and is currently director of trade and manufacturing policy research. His areas of research include international economics, the impacts of trade and manufacturing policies on working people in the United States and other countries, the economic impacts of foreign investment, and the macroeconomic effects of trade and capital flows and exchange rates. He has published widely in academic journals and the popular press, including in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the International Review of Applied Economics, and the Stanford Law and Policy Review,  the Detroit News, the New York Times, Los Angeles TimesNewsdayUSA TodayThe Baltimore SunThe Washington TimesThe Hill, and other newspapers. He has also provided economic commentary for a range of electronic media, including NPR, CNN, Bloomberg, and the BBC. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Highlighted work

Education
Ph.D., Economics, University of California at Berkeley
B.S., Engineering, Washington University (St. Louis)


Heidi Shierholz

Senior Economist and Director of Policy

Areas of expertise
Labor policy • Wage inequality • Unemployment insurance • Long-term unemployment • Labor force participation • Minimum wage • Overtime

Biography
Heidi Shierholz leads EPI’s policy team, which monitors wage and employment policies coming out of Congress and the administration and advances a worker-first policy agenda. Throughout her career, Shierholz has educated policymakers, journalists, and the public about the effects of economic policies on low- and middle-income families. Her research and insights on labor and employment policy, the effects of automation on the labor market, wage stagnation, inequality, and many other topics routinely shape policy proposals and inform economic news coverage. Her work has been cited in many broadcast, radio, print, and online news outlets, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and HuffPost.

Shierholz was an economist at EPI from 2007 to 2014 and she rejoined EPI in 2017. From 2014 to 2017, she served the Obama administration as chief economist at the Department of Labor. She worked with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and other department leaders to develop and execute initiatives to boost workers’ rights, wages, and benefits; to protect workers’ savings, and to increase workplace safety. She also provided economic analysis on the wages of jobs added during the recovery, brought heightened attention to the need for paid family leave, and fought for new regulations guaranteeing overtime pay for millions of workers and paid sick leave for over a million federal contract workers.

Prior to joining EPI in 2007, Shierholz was assistant professor of economics at the University of Toronto. Shierholz commutes to work on a steel-framed bicycle and in her—limited—free time tends to her beehives.

Education
Ph.D., Economics, University of Michigan
M.A., Economics, University of Michigan
M.S., Statistics, Iowa State University
B.A., Mathematics, Grinnell College


Naomi Walker

Director of EARN

Biography
Naomi Walker joined EPI in 2018 as director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a national network of more than 60 state-level policy research and advocacy organizations coordinated by EPI. Prior to joining EPI, Naomi Walker served as assistant to the president at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the nation’s largest and fastest-growing public services employees union, with more than 1.6 million active and retired members. In her role on the executive team of the union, she was responsible for coordinating AFSCME’s partnerships with allies and coalitions in order to build power for working families.

Prior to joining AFSCME in 2012, Walker served as director of state government relations and deputy director of the government affairs department for the AFL-CIO, where she worked with national unions, state federations, state legislators, and allies to coordinate state legislative campaigns around the country, providing guidance on strategy, message, member mobilization, and research, as well as writing model legislation. Walker has coordinated state issue campaigns on a variety of issues, including fighting so-called “right-to-work” legislation and attacks on working families; exposing profitable corporations like Walmart that shift their health care costs onto state taxpayers; stopping the export of American jobs; and providing affordable health care for working families.

While at the AFL-CIO, Walker also served as assistant director of the AFL-CIO politics and field department, leading labor’s field campaign for the 2006 election cycle. She managed staff across the country as they coordinated labor’s political program to educate, mobilize, and turn out union members to vote.

In 2009, Walker was appointed associate deputy secretary of labor under the Obama administration, serving as a liaison between the Department of Labor and the labor movement before she rejoined the AFL-CIO in 2010.

Before joining the AFL-CIO in 1997, Walker served as field director of the Preamble Center for Public Policy, where she helped coordinate both press and field work on progressive policy issues like corporate accountability and fair trade. From 1993 until 1996, she was the Midwest regional organizer for the Children’s Defense Fund.

Education
B.A., Public Policy Studies, Duke University


Valerie Wilson

Director, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy

Biography
Valerie Rawlston Wilson is director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE), a nationally recognized source for expert reports and policy analyses on the economic condition of America’s people of color. Prior to joining EPI, Wilson was an economist and vice president of research at the National Urban League Washington Bureau, where she was responsible for planning and directing the bureau’s research agenda. She has written extensively on various issues impacting economic inequality in the United States—including employment and training, income and wealth disparities, access to higher education, and social insurance—and has also appeared in print, television, and radio media. In 2010, through the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, she was selected to deliver the keynote address at an event on Minority Economic Empowerment at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway. In 2011, Wilson served on a National Academies Panel on Measuring and Collecting Pay Information from U.S. Employers by Gender, Race, and National Origin. 

Education
Ph.D., Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Julia Wolfe

State Economic Analyst

Biography
Julia Wolfe joined the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team at EPI as an economic analyst in 2019. In addition to conducting national and state-level research on labor market trends, inequality, and collective bargaining, she provides technical support to the state-level policy research and advocacy organizations that make up EARN. Julia first joined EPI as a research assistant in 2017. Prior to joining EPI, Julia worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the retail and manufacturing employment analyst for the Current Employment Statistics program.

Education
B.A., Political Science and International Development, Truman State University


Jaimie Worker

Senior State Policy Coordinator

Biography
Jaimie K. Worker is the senior state policy coordinator for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) at EPI. She is committed to ensuring that racial and gender equity is a public policy priority and that the leaders of communities impacted by structural racism and oppression are key collaborators in developing public policy.

Prior to joining EPI, Worker was a senior policy analyst at Community Change, where for more than six years she worked on racial and economic justice campaigns focused on jobs and public investment in partnership with grassroots organizations. Previously, she worked with the New Organizing Institute, as well as the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan, supporting workplace organizing and policy campaigns to win improved working conditions in the restaurant industry.

Worker is the proud daughter of immigrants and hails from Detroit, Michigan.

Education
B.A., Sociology, University of Michigan
M.S.W., University of Michigan School of Social Work


Ben Zipperer

Economist

Biography
Ben Zipperer joined the Economic Policy Institute in 2016. His areas of expertise include the minimum wage, inequality, and low-wage labor markets. He has published research in The Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Industrial and Labor Relations Review and has been quoted in outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and the BBC.

Prior to joining EPI, Ben was research economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. He is a senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a research associate at the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley, and an associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Education
Ph.D., Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
B.S., Mathematics, University of Georgia, Athens


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