May 23 • 1HR 4M

S2E16: Interview with Jason Furman, Economist and Professor, Harvard University

The road untraveled: from Harvard PhD student to public policy to Harvard Professorship

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scott cunningham
The Mixtape with Scott is a podcast in which economist and professor, Scott Cunningham, interviews economists, scientists and authors about their lives and careers, as well as the some of their work. He tries to travel back in time with his guests to listen and hear their stories before then talking with them about topics they care about now.
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Interview with Jason Furman

It has been a common story throughout the last two seasons that while not every economist entered economics with a burning desire to affect public policy, a large number had. But of those that had said that usually had in mind scholarship as the primary mechanism by which policy was affected. In this week’s episode, I am joined by an economist who has spent his career very close to the machinations of economic policy itself — Dr. Jason Furman. Jason, currently a professor in Harvard's Kennedy School, took the road less traveled from being a Harvard student who left “all bug dissertation” to work with Joe Stiglitz in the Clinton administration, came back, then went back to Washington to the Obama administration, then back to Harvard again, this time as a professor!

Our conversation moved from Jason's personal journey as a kid through high school and then carving his own path within and through the economics profession. It’s the stories like Jason’s that I’m trying to learn by listening to the personal stories of living economists and the hope that over time, through the collection of hundreds of them over the next several years, create a large collage of the profession’s story. An oral history of the profession told through the personal stories of economists. And this week’s story is Jason’s.

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