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February 16, 2023 | News

Yale’s Tobin Center for Economic Policy Releases its Inaugural Phase Report

Tobin Inaugural Report

With gratitude for the support and collaboration of so many, we are pleased to share our inaugural phase report highlighting our impact, research, and lessons learned in the Tobin Center’s first three years as a staffed enterprise.

Read the full Tobin Center Inaugural Phase Report

Here are some highlights of Tobin’s work with faculty and students across Yale to reduce the time between research and impact:

  • We meaningfully shifted the public conversation around hospital competition, private health spending, physician staffing companies, and out-of-network billing, the latter resulting in passage of landmark, bipartisan legislation, banning surprise billing (hailed by the Washington Post as among the top 22 important achievements of 2022).
  • Credited with helping to sustain US childcare supply during the pandemic, we informed the way childcare is safely delivered for millions of children. We co-launched the largest-ever survey of the American Child care workforce, which continues to enable key insights informing state and federal policy.
  • Our global team of academic economists is having an impact on policy trajectories in digital market regulation, leading a consensus global research agenda, advising congress on prominent legislation, and shaping the conversation in the media.
  • Helping situate a faculty member at the White House, we enabled a major Executive Order mandating that the federal government include natural assets on the national balance sheet (a breakthrough towards a visionary solution first called for 50 years ago by Yale Nobel laureates).
  • We informed operational practices in thousands of nursing homes and sparked a new national policy conversation on long-term care.
  • We directly influenced government action on national COVID-19 testing policy, local school bus routes, federal student debt forgiveness programs, state energy utility rates, federal consumer protection, effects of web algorithms on children, and federal data integration, among other things.
  • We had significant (and in some cases major) impact on the public debate and national conversation on pandemic response, foreclosures, electric vehicle efficiency, zoning, the #MeToo movement, the human costs of partisan misinformation, unemployment insurance, and more. We’ve generated new insights and understanding on US supply chain disruptions, vectors of disease transmission, Medicare supplements, retirement security, government procurement, and much more.

Our work has been discussed on the Sunday news shows, featured as the topic of a press release by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, used to inform the Senate testimony of the future US Treasury Secretary, and cited in a federal regulation that was reviewed and upheld by the US Supreme Court. It also has been directly cited by White Houses of both parties in official media releases, signature initiative announcements, an op-ed, and the Economic Report of the President. Tobin’s work has even influenced the content of a State of the Union Speech.

Enlisting Partners to Deepen Impact

In support of all of this, we forged partnerships with national organizations (AARP, US of Care, Made to Save, Schmidt Futures, C2ES, and leading industry associations) and actively collaborated with government (the White House, Health and Human Services, Federal Trade Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Census, Center for Disease Control, Federal Reserve Banks, the US House and Senate, governors' and mayors' offices, and numerous state and local agencies). We’ve mobilized eminent scholars to publicly endorse and advance our policy initiatives, including four (four!) Nobel laureates in economics.

Strengthening Yale’s Capacity in Policy Relevant Research

Simultaneously, we materially strengthened underlying infrastructure at Yale to produce policy-relevant research, increasing its quantity and quality through a globally recognized predoctoral program, led the operational design and launch of a new Data Intensive Social Science Center, mobilized a volunteer infrastructure attracting over 225 students and faculty to time-limited projects, and embedded fellows in local, state, and federal government, including what may be the largest university-sponsored state fellows program in the country. We helped create public information resources on state and local public health restrictions, vaccine uptake in communities of color, and benefit-cliff barriers to economic mobility.

Our Team

To do all of this, we’ve attracted top talent to our team of staff and full-time fellows including three (three!) former senior White House officials, key federal and state agency leaders and staff, and other leaders widely known and respected in their fields. This team has found new ways to tap the tremendous potential of Yale researchers to strengthen our nation.

Topline Stats

Collectively, our work was covered in over 500 news stories, supported 56 faculty members generating 126 new pieces of research, recruited 132 predoctoral students supporting 60 faculty, and engaged with 40 government agencies.

We sincerely want to thank our funders, partners, faculty, team, and peers for helping us advance research and policy to strengthen individuals, families, and communities here in the United States. This is just the beginning and we couldn’t be more optimistic about the path ahead.

   -    Steve Berry, Faculty Director

   -    Zack Cooper, Associate Faculty Director

   -    Dave Wilkinson, Executive Director


Read the full Tobin Center Inaugural Phase Report