NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health

NBER Profile: Jeffrey Liebman

Jeffrey Liebman

Jeffrey Liebman is a Research Associate in the NBER's Programs on Aging, Public Economics, Children and Education, as well as the Associate Director of the NBER Retirement and Disability Research Centers. He is the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Liebman's research focuses on tax and budget policy, social insurance, and social policy. Much of his re-search involves large randomized evaluations of government programs and policies. Liebman and his coau-thors spent 12 years working with HUD on the evaluation of the Moving to Opportunity housing voucher ex-periment. In another study, Liebman and coauthors conducted a randomized experiment with 14,000 low and moderate-income taxpayers to test whether the matching of savings could increase the fraction of tax refunds that were saved rather than spent. In a more recent randomized experiment, Liebman and a coauthor tested whether providing information about Social Security to older workers could affect retirement decisions.

During the first two years of the Obama administration, Liebman served at the Office of Management and Budget, first as Executive Associate Director and Chief Economist and then as Acting Deputy Director. From 1998 to 1999, he served as Special Assistant to the President for economic policy and coordinated the Clinton Administration's Social Security reform technical working group.

Since returning to Harvard from OMB, Liebman has established the Social Impact Bond Technical Assis-tance Lab ( to conduct research on how governments can foster social innovation and im-prove the results they achieve with their social spending. As part of its research model, the SIB Lab provides pro bono technical assistance to state and local governments implementing pay-for-success contracts using social impact bonds. The SIB Lab recently announced that it will be providing technical assistance in the coming year to 6 new governments: South Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Denver/Colorado, New York, and Connecticut.

Liebman lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters.

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