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

Andrew Samwick

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Winter 2012

It is January 2012 – the month of the New Hampshire presidential primary.   Apart from last October’s debate on economic issues hosted by Dartmouth in collaboration with Bloomberg, The Washington Post, and WBIN-TV, the campus has been as quiet as I have ever seen it in a presidential primary season.   In a recent blog post, I attributed this quiet to four factors: an aggressive national debate schedule, Dartmouth’s location in a Democratic part of New Hampshire, the lack of a natural campaigner (like John McCain in 2008) in the current group of Republican candidates, and the irrelevance of fundraising constraints in the campaign so far.

Policy Research Shop Gears Up For Busy Winter Term

Offered in the fall term, Public Policy 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research, taught by Professor Ron Shaiko, Associate Director of the Rockefeller Center, and Professor Ben Cole, a Rockefeller Center post-doctoral fellow and co-manager of the Policy Research Shop (PRS), included a record number of 27 students and produced a record-breaking nine PRS projects that will be completed in the winter term in the PRS.   

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Fall 2011

This Fall's Direct Line comes from the Opening Remarks for the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Alumni Conference: Learn. Reconnect. Reflect. that were given on August 19, 2011 by Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick.

Good evening and welcome back. My name is Andrew Samwick, and I have been the director of the Rockefeller Center for the past 7 years. It won’t surprise you to learn that I think that the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program is one of the best opportunities at Dartmouth or that the feedback we have gotten from each successive year of students to experience the program confirms that I am not alone in my assessment.

As the purpose of your gathering this weekend is to learn, reconnect, and reflect, I want to share with you one or two of my reflections on 17 years on the faculty at Dartmouth. It starts with Dartmouth’s mission statement, which was articulated in April 2007 as follows:

Dartmouth College educates the most promising students and prepares them for a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership, through a faculty dedicated to teaching and the creation of knowledge.

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Spring 2011

I can hardly believe that it was four years ago this Memorial Day that Dartmouth welcomed then-Senator Barack Obama for a visit to campus that drew upwards of 5,000 students, faculty, staff, and community members to the courtyard outside the entrance to the Rockefeller Center.  We may never see a presidential election campaign as wide open as 2008 again in our lifetimes.  It was the first time in many decades that neither party had an incumbent president or vice president in the running.  The 2012 campaign will be more typical, with almost all of the activity expected to be in one of the major political parties, as Republicans use the primary season to nominate a challenger to President Obama. As is always the case, the economy will play an important role.  Economist Ray Fair of Yale has been studying the link between economic conditions and electoral outcomes for decades.  His latest PDF icon

Center Director Andrew Samwick leads RLF session on "The Leadership Implications of the 2008-2009 Financial Crisis"

Andrew Samwick, Director of the Rockefeller Center and the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College, led the session last week titled "The Leadership Implications of the 2008-2009 Financial Crisis."

He opened the session by asking Fellows to point out where opportunities to demonstrate effective or ineffective leadership existed in the years leading up to the crisis.  Examining the actions of individuals such as Ben Bernanke and the decisions of institutions such as the SEC, Professor Samwick highlighted specific instances that shaped the future course of events.  He left Fellows with the advice that leaders in any situation should be consistent in their decision making and always cultivate a sense of fairness in their treatment of other actors. 

Fellows then discussed where the next crises will be and ideas ranged from public education to infrastructure to oil.  Professor Samwick closed the session by answering questions on everything from the specifics of the economic crises to more general theories of leadership.

-- Karen Doster '11

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Winter 2011

In years with Presidential or Congressional elections, we typically turn our attention to public policy at the national level. But many of the most pressing problems are occurring at the state and local level. An example is the underfunded status of many defined benefit pension plans for state and local public sector workers. According to a recent study by economists at Rochester and Northwestern universities, state-sponsored pension plans have unfunded liabilities of over $3 trillion and municipal plans have unfunded liabilities of over $500 billion when properly valued.

Poverty and Education: Following Up on Last Night's Forum

Last evening, Professor Jay Davis and I spoke with a group of about 50 students at the Rockefeller Center in a forum on education sponsored by the NAACP chapter at Dartmouth. Professor Davis is both an instructor in the Education Department and the Executive Director for the Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth (SEAD) program through the Tucker Foundation.

I'd like to thank the students who attended for being able to conduct such a candid, thoughtful, and respectful discussion of race, income, and education. In this post, I'd like to summarize some of my recommendations for the students and provide some links to other reading.

Reinventing the University

On Monday, October 4, Sadhana Hall, the Center's Deputy Director, and I attended a fascinating conference sponsored by the New England Board of Higher Education and hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The subject of the conference was "Reinventing the University: New Models & Innovations for 21st Century Realities." You can find the program and some of the slides from the presentations here.

The common theme of the sessions was that in order to educate the future workforce to be as productive as possible, all educational institutions are going to have find ways to become more productive -- to educate more students and to educate them better, all without the promise of additional resources.

Rockefeller Center Director Appointed to Newly Established Dartmouth Endowed Chair in Economics

Sandra and Arthur Irving A’72, P’10 Professorship of Economics
Professor of Economics Andrew A. Samwick is currently in his seventh year as director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth. He studies financial markets, managerial behavior, pensions and social security, saving, and taxation. Samwick’s current research focuses on household saving behavior in the presence of the multiple motives for saving that take place over a household's life cycle.
In recognition of Arthur and Sandra Irving’s generous support of the Undergraduate Business Initiative, the College created the professorship in their name to recognize and reward a member of the faculty whose teaching is true to the highest standards of Dartmouth’s educational mission and whose scholarship has contributed significantly to the advancement of interdisciplinary knowledge.  Read more...

Rockefeller Center Direct Line - Fall 2010

When he campaigned for President, Barack Obama used a slogan, “Change We Can Believe In,” which also served as the title of the book he published before the election outlining his plan for America.  Change in our public policies is very gradual, sometimes frustratingly so, but the promise of change by candidates and demands for change by voters figure prominently in most of our elections.  This year’s midterm elections are no exception.


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