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James M. Poterba

Mitsui Professor of Economics, 1996 - present

Mitsui Professor of Economics, 1996 - present

James M. Poterba
Mitsui Professor of Economics, 1996 - present

Professor Poterba specializes in how taxes affect individuals in companies and the decisions that those individuals then make. He joined the MIT Department of Economics in 1983 and served as its associate department head and department head for 13 years. In a 2008 appointment applauded by economists on the right and on the left, he was named president and chief executive of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a high-profile organization with more than 1,000 research associates at colleges and universities across North America. This organization is the arbiter of when the United States enters and leaves recessions.

Highlights from this interview include:

  • Overview of the different tax systems and their relationship to the greater economy.   
  • Suggestions on how to improve the American system of taxation.
  • Reflections on how his role as a Harvard University undergraduate research assistant introduced him to the Department of Economics at MIT.
  • Dynamics of MIT’s Department of Economics and a review of the challenges met within.  
  • Comparison of MIT’s Department of Economics with that of other universities.
  • Efforts to solve some of the world’s national economic issues through his work. 

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