New Tool for Measuring Americans’ Economic Risk

CONTACT: Helen Dodson 203-436-3984 or FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2010 Yale Professor To Unveil New Tool for Measuring Americans’ Economic Risk

New Haven, Conn.— The “Economic Security Index” (ESI), a new tool to measure the economic well-being of American families which was developed at the Rockefeller Foundation by Yale Professor Jacob Hacker, will be launched on July 22 in Washington, D.C.

Members of the media are invited to attend the presentation of this new instrument, the first simple, integrated measure of income insecurity. The unveiling will take place 10–11:30 a.m. at the New America Foundation, 1899 L Street, N.W., Suite 400, Washington. D.C.

The event will include a panel discussion highlighting startling new statistics about economic loss in America, which will feature Professor Hacker in addition to a number of noted economists, and will be moderated by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. The ESI demonstrates long-term trends in economic insecurity for American families across several demographic characteristics such as age, race/ethnicity, education level and household income. It presents information on the share of Americans who experience at least a 25 percent decline in inflation-adjusted “available household income” from one year to the next.

The ESI was developed through the Rockefeller Foundation by a team of renowned experts on economic insecurity, who were led by Hacker, the Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale. Hacker, a fellow of the Center for the Study of American Politics and the interdisciplinary Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale, is an expert on the politics of U.S. health and social policy. He is the author of five books, including the influential “The Great Risk Shift,” as well as numerous journal articles, and a wide range of popular writings on American politics and public policy, with a focus on health and economic security. He is a frequent media commentator, often testifies before Congress, and is best known as the architect of the “public option” in health care reform. His forthcoming book, “Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class,” will be published by Simon and Schuster in September.

About the Rockefeller Foundation Since its establishment in 1913, the Rockefeller Foundation has sought to identify and attack at their source the underlying causes of human suffering. The Foundation attempts to harness the creative forces of globalization, supporting breakthrough solutions to 21st century challenges. This is smart globalization: ensuring that the opportunities unleashed by globalization are accessible to more people, more fully, in more places – and that poor and vulnerable people are equipped to seize them.

About the New America Foundation The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.