Summers Takes On Economic Project at Washington Think Tank

University Professor Lawrence H. Summers will lead a Washington think tank’s new project on developing fiscal policies that encourage more equal economic growth. He will not leave Harvard for the new post.

The Center for American Progress named Summers to the position on Monday. As a distinguished senior fellow, Summers will join former British Foreign Secretary David W. Miliband as a co-chair for the organization’s Growth and Development project. According to a press release, Summers’ work will focus on developing new ideas to stimulate middle-class job growth.

“This is a moment of great opportunity but also great risk in economic policy,” Summers said in the press release. He added that the government’s approach to economic recovery would need to address “deep structural changes” that lead to economic inequality and unemployment.

“I look forward to working with CAP on economically sound and politically viable approaches to these challenges,” Summers said.

Summers, who was president of Harvard from 2001 to 2006 and was later tapped by President Barack Obama to lead his team of economic advisers at the National Economic Council, has taught economics as a University professor since returning to Cambridge at the end of 2010. Before serving as University president, Summers also was Treasury Secretary in Bill Clinton’s administration.

CAP President Neera Tanden said in the press release that she was excited to have Summers work on original ideas for economic policy at the center.

“As our country continues to confront challenges to establishing economic growth that is more broadly shared, there are few thinkers with Larry’s insights, keen intellect, and policy creativity,” Tanden said. “I’m thrilled he will be joining the Center for American Progress as we work to develop new ideas to solve the country’s problems.”

Founded in 2003, the organization describes its central mission as generating new policy ideas, critiquing policies based in conservative ideology, focusing media coverage on important issues, and helping shape political discourse. By coincidence, University President Drew G. Faust visited the think tank last week to speak about the need to maintain research and education funding in the national budget.

—Staff writer Samuel Y. Weinstock can be reached at sweinstock@college.harvard.edu.

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