The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Andrew Samwick

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Winter 2014

Our programs at the Rockefeller Center are designed to enable our students to acquire both the knowledge that is relevant to public problems and the capacity to use it in ways that will make progress in solving these problems. Many of these problems will have an international dimension, whether comparative or cooperative.

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Fall 2013

Milestone anniversaries are a time for reflection. When the Rockefeller Center was dedicated thirty years ago this week, the world of public policy was very different from today. There was one defining, existential threat – the Soviet Union, and particularly its nuclear arsenal held at bay by threats of mutually assured destruction. It was a challenge not of our own making. Despite their imperfections and the lingering scandals of Watergate a decade earlier, there was a sense that our political institutions could find a way to function in the face of this threat.

Today, we are blessed that this particular nuclear threat has abated. Most of the problems that shape our public policy debates focus on challenges of our own making – a health care system that costs too much for what it delivers, an educational system that no longer offers the widespread promise of upward mobility, inadequate progress against environmental degradation and climate change, and the continued presence of an economic underclass being left behind. Sadly, confidence in our political institutions to contribute to solutions to these challenges is extremely low.

Nearly 30 Years of Dynamic Inquiry: Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Spring 2013

This September marks a special anniversary for the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center. Thirty years ago at its founding, Rodman Rockefeller '54, Nelson's son and a driving force behind the Center's creation, aspired for it to become "a true center of dynamic inquiry, controversy, and cross-fertilization." Speaking at the same ceremony, Dartmouth President David McLaughlin '54 described the challenge of the new Center to "Fill these physical spaces with intellectual excellence. Realize within these walls the excitement and stimulus of the life of Nelson Rockefeller."Each director and staff of the Center in the intervening three decades have had the task of making these aspirations relevant for successive generations of students, faculty, and the wider Dartmouth community.

RLF Recap: Rocky's Own Andrew Samwick Speaks to Students about the "Resource Curse"

Professor Samwick used the resource curse to teach us valuable lessons about leadership. His highly interactive session began with a discussion regarding the definition of the resource curse, the difficulty that resource-rich countries face relative to comparable resource-poor countries.  Professor Samwick then helped characterize the causes of the resource curse, breaking them into active and passive, making us realize how deeply ingrained this obstacle is. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of this session was taking the resource curse and applying it to non-state situations.  All kinds of suggestions were brought up for resources that can negatively affect individuals if not managed properly, from increasing information on the Internet to newfound popularity of a cappella groups.  After a rousing discussion, Professor Samwick brought the conversation back to leadership – not only is the resource curse caused by mismanaging resources, but as individuals, we can mismanage our own personal talents that make us the leaders we are.  This newfound awareness will serve as a powerful tool in our personal, academic, and professional lives. 

Rocky's Own Andrew Samwick Publishes "Must-Read" Op-Ed in the New York Daily News

Andrew Samwick, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72, P ’10 Professor of Economics and Director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center, has published an article in the New York Daily News entitled, "The Fiscal Grand Canyon".  In this article, Samwick says that although our government has managed to avert the 2012 fiscal cliff, a larger, more severe crisis looms in the near future.

"These are the facts about the budget. Everyone knows them. Yet the two parties have continued to pursue their dangerously parallel approaches to the debt: Democrats pretending that minimal tax increases that spare the middle class can save us, Republicans generally pretending that spending cuts that exempt defense and tip-toe around Medicare and Social Security are sufficient."

You can find Samwick's NY Daily News piece here.
MSNBC's Morning Joe has also featured this op-ed as a "must-read".

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Winter 2013

During the December break, I had the opportunity to speak to the Dartmouth Club of Utah about interesting developments both at Dartmouth and in the world of public policy.  With the fiscal cliff looming, the topic of budget policy was on everyone’s mind.  (See this recent Faculty Forum and Op-Ed for my views on the underlying issues.)  During our discussion, I made the suggestion that, in the future, if we want our public policy done sensibly, we should favor its devolution to the States from the Federal government.  The reaction to my suggestion was decidedly mixed – the Beehive State is known, for example, for spending the least amount per pupil in its public schools, and is ranked at about the middle of the fifty states.  Many of the alumni in attendance that evening were working or had worked in th

Prof. Samwick Shares Thoughts on Fiscal Cliff in @usnews and Dartmouth Now

"Our biggest problem is that we’ve become accustomed to having a tax system that doesn’t raise enough revenue to cover our expenses. We’d be closer to it if we allowed all the policies in the fiscal cliff to actually revert. It’s not ideal to have them all revert at once, but that’s better than continuing to kick the can down the road. When you come to a fiscal cliff, take it." -- Andrew Samwick, Dartmouth Now Faculty Forum

Staff Profile: Andrew Samwick, Director of the Rockefeller Center

Andrew Samwick - Director of the Rockefeller Center

What was your most rewarding collegiate experience as an undergraduate or graduate?
My most rewarding collegiate experience was doing a summer research assistantship at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System after my second year of graduate school.  It was an opportunity to be immersed in a strong economic research environment, and it opened my eyes to the relevance of public policy and the many ways to put an economics Ph.D. to work.

Why did you choose to work at Dartmouth College, and/or what do you currently most enjoy about your position and/or field of interest?

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Fall 2012

During the last 80 years, no incumbent President seeking re-election has been defeated in the general election unless he first faced serious opposition for his party’s nomination.  Since President Obama faced no opposition in securing the Democratic Party’s nomination, it would be unprecedented in the modern era for him not to carry the election in November.  Prediction markets currently assign a 59.7 percent chanceto President Obama winning re-election.

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Spring 2012

Khan AcademyMITxMBA@UNC.  Higher education is going online, and if it can be online, there is no reason why it cannot be global.  When Ben Wildavsky visitedcampus last month as part of the Leading Voices in Higher Education lecture series, he said, “My real argument is that globalization is a real opportunity. It’s not really something to worry about. That’s fundamentally because it’s not a zero-sum game.” 


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences