Mission and Overview

The Maryland Center for Economics and Policy exists to contribute to the better understanding of our nation's most pressing problems and the development of solutions to those problems that are based on sound and objective economic analysis.

The Center was established in the fall of 2013.  Its first Director is Professor Katharine Abraham, a faculty member in the Department of Economics who first came to Maryland in 1987.  In addition to her work as an academic, Abraham also has served at high levels in the federal government, first for eight years as Commissioner of Labor Statistics and, more recently, for two years as a Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, both positions to which she was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The Center’s activities are organized around:

  • Increasing the visibility of the policy-relevant research carried out by Maryland economics faculty;
  • Providing a forum for discussion and debate on the economic issues of the day;
  • Strengthening the mutually beneficial connections between Maryland economics faculty and students and the community of policy practitioners around issues of shared interest; and
  • Providing opportunities for Maryland students to engage with the major policy issues of our time. 

The day-to-day work of the Center is guided by the Director with advice from the Faculty Steering Committee, a group of faculty members that includes representatives from the Department of Economics, the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and the School of Public Policy.  An External Advisory Board to be named in the near future will provide broad guidance concerning the Center’s activities.  

Economics faculty from across the university who are involved with the Center contribute policy briefs that offer accessible summaries of their own research  and explanations of the economic issues underlying current policy debates that are written for the educated lay person.  These briefing materials are disseminated primarily through the Center’s website.

Public events to be organized by the Center include periodic lectures by prominent economic policy officials and research conferences addressing topical themes.  In addition, the Center plans less formal gatherings organized to promote constructive engagement of economics faculty at the university with federal, state and local policy practitioners. 

The Center helps interested Maryland economics undergraduates to identify opportunities for policy internships that can further their subsequent careers in the policy world.  Maryland students also may apply for positions as Center interns.  Students are welcome at all of the public events sponsored by the Center and qualified students may enroll in the honors seminar on Current Issues in American Economic Policy to be taught each fall by Director Abraham.