Macroeconomics & the Economy’s General Outlook
As the Treasury Department’s chief economic, Ben Harris’ focus was on macroeconomics and the economy’s general outlook – both with regards to international volatility and the impact on American consumers. From key headline issues such as the looming debt ceiling crisis and the ongoing debate over the Russian oil price cap, Harris offers a decisive and substantial perspective that provides clear insights for individuals and organizations.
Biden Administration Policy Agenda
In this talk, Ben Harris leverages his role as Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist with the U.S. Treasury Department to speak to the impacts, opportunities, and challenges of the Biden Administration’s policy agenda.
A Plan for America’s Outdated Retirement System
Influential former White House economist Ben Harris is an expert in America’s outdated retirement system, and what needs to change for America’s seniors and retirees. Harris explores how improving retirement requires changes by families, employers, and policymakers alike, and how despite today’s wide political divide we all play a role in ensuring a secure and prosperous future for everyone.
Ben Harris, lawmaker and analyst, takes on federal fiscal policy research at the Brookings Institute
Renowned economist and author BEN HARRIS has expanded beyond his role as assistant secretary for economic policy and chief economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury to lead research efforts in federal fiscal and retirement policy at the Brookings Institute. The scope of his current projects combined with his Washington insider knowledge allow him to predict the effects of federal fiscal policy, one of his official research areas, on impacted areas of the private sector.
Ben Harris left the U.S. Treasury on a high note, his exit coinciding with the passage of his major reconciliation bill, Build Back Better. A valued member of the Department, he became known for both his prowess as an economist and his grace as a public figure over the course of his tenure. "There’s no question that Ben is one of the most influential people at Treasury… In a building full of expertise, kindness is often undervalued, but that’s a big reason why he’s so well-liked, respected and influential,” Ben Harris’s keen understanding of stakeholder priorities allowed him to become the bridge between the offices of the Treasury and the President, a historically tense relationship. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says, “Ben has been one of my closest advisers across some of our department’s most pressing issues.”
With expertise across a range of key topics concerning the public and private sector’s financial outlook, Harris speaks to the macroeconomic trends impacting America today, such as national policy initiatives, global energy markets, oil and gas, and more.
Ben Harris completed a stint as Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist with the U.S. Treasury Department in March 2023. In this role, Harris was a close adviser to Secretary Yellen, the Administration’s lead official on the price cap on Russian oil, and a key staffer in the development of the Build Back Better legislation.
Prior to joining Treasury, Harris was the Executive Director of the Kellogg Public-Private Initiative and a research associate professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, in addition to serving as the chief economist to the evidence-based policy organization Results for America. He was also the senior advisor to the Biden campaign, where he was a lead contributor to the development of the Biden platform and featured surrogate for economic issues. He recently published a book titled The Retirement Challenge, with Martin N. Bailey, addressing some of the most vexing problems facing the American retirement system.
Earlier in his career, he served as the chief economist and economic adviser to then-Vice President Joe Biden, was the policy director of The Hamilton Project, a fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, and deputy director of the Retirement Security Project.
In addition, Harris was a senior research associate with the Urban Institute and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Prior to joining the Urban Institute, Harris worked at the White House as a senior economist with the Council of Economic Advisers, where he specialized in fiscal policy and retirement security. He has also served as a research economist at the Brookings Institution and as a senior economist with the Budget Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Harris has also taught as an adjunct professor at the policy schools at the University of Maryland and Georgetown University.
Harris' has published a variety of academic papers and policy briefs related to topics in public finance and has been regularly cited in media reports related to fiscal policy. His op-eds have been widely published, including frequent publication in the Wall Street Journal.
He holds a Ph.D. in economics from George Washington University, in addition to a master's degree in economics from Cornell University and a master's degree in quantitative methods from Columbia University. He earned his BA in economics at Tufts University. In 2000, Harris was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Namibia.