Teresa Ghilarducci is a labor economist and nationally-recognized expert in retirement security.
Teresa holds the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in economic policy analysis and directs the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) that focuses on economic policy research and outreach.
Ghilarducci joined The New School in 2008 after 25 years as a professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame. Her most recent book - When I’m Sixty Four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them – investigates the loss of pensions on older Americans and proposes a comprehensive system of reform. Her previous books include Labor's Capital: The Economics and Politics of Employer Pensions, winner of an Association of American Publishers award in 1992, and Portable Pension Plans for Casual Labor Markets, published in 1995.
Pension Reform Advocate
Ghilarducci’s work focuses on the need to restore the promise of retirement for every American worker. To do so, she has put forth a bold reform idea - the creation of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) – to solve the many problems Americans now face in planning for retirement: decreasing coverage and contributions, increasing investment risk, portability, leakage, high fees, and the drawdown of benefits in retirement.
Ghilarducci’s proposal has met with critical success from high-level opinion leaders. In February 2010, the White House Middle Class Task Force issued a report calling Ghilarducci’s proposal a viable option to help American families save for retirement, irrespective of their of financial sophistication, and called for further research on the plan. In July of 2009, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified GRAs as one alternative to overhaul the U.S. retirement system. In 2008, New York Times Magazine named the GRA Plan one of the best ideas of the year.
The New York Times named Teresa Ghilarducci's pension reform proposal - Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) - one of the defining ideas of 2008.
The GRA proposal is the bedrock of the project “Beyond the 401(k): Guaranteeing Retirement Security.” The initiative is working to document the effects of the current retirement system – which is based on individual accounts such as 401(k)s – and investigates the potential of alternative proposals. Ghilarducci is leading this two-year project with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with Demos and EPI.
Retirement Security Expert
In April 2014, Ghilarducci was appointed as a Commissioner for the Bipartisan Policy Center's Personal Savings Initiative. Additionally, Ghilarducci serves as a trustee for two retiree health care trusts: one for the United Auto Worker (UAW) retirees at GM, Ford, and Chrysler, and the other for Steelworker retirees at Goodyear. She was twice appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation advisory board, serving from 1995- 2002. She has been a member of the General Accounting Office Retirement Policy Advisory Panel since 2002.
"Teresa Ghilarducci has always had more interesting - and more controversial - things to say than your average retirement-policy wonk"....Justin Fox, TIME Magazine
On the state level, she served on Governor Schwarzenegger’s Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission in 2007 and was appointed by the governor of Indiana to serve as trustee on the state’s Public Employee Retirement Fund from 1997 to 2002.
In 2010, Ghilarducci became a member of the Board of Directors of YRC Worldwide Inc., a transportation and logistics service provider, as part of an agreement between the company and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to help the company maintain their retirement benefits in an increasingly competitive market.
Labor Economist and Author
Ghilarducci received her PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. From 2007 to 2009, she was the Wurf fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, D.C. that works to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy and as a distinguished senior fellow at Demos, a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization.
Ghilarducci frequently publishes in refereed journals, testifies before the U.S. Congress, and is a media source to popular and online news outlets about pensions and labor economics. She also writes a regular column for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Brainstorm” blog. In addition to her current work with the Rockefeller Foundation, her research has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, U.S. Department of Labor, Ford Foundation, and Retirement Research Foundation.