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Leonard Lopoo Named Volcker Chair at Maxwell School

August 19, 2021

Leonard Lopoo headshot

Leonard M. Lopoo

Leonard Burman

Leonard Burman

Leonard Lopoo, professor of public administration and international affairs, has been named the Paul Volcker Chair in Behavioral Economics at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

A faculty member since 2004, Lopoo additionally serves as the director of the Center for Policy Research and director and co-founder of the Maxwell X Lab. His interdisciplinary research is focused on family formation, behavioral economics and the social welfare policies designed to assist the low-income population. 

The Volcker Chair was endowed by Robert Menschel, retired senior director at Goldman Sachs Group and trustee emeritus of Syracuse University. It is named in honor of the late Paul Volcker, a former Maxwell School Advisory Board member whose distinguished career included eight years as chair of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve under former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, four years as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and two years as chair of former President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. In addition, he served as undersecretary of the treasury for international monetary affairs and was chair of the prominent New York investment banking firm, J. Rothschild, Wolfensohn & Co. Volcker also chaired the National Commission on Public Service, which focused on the changes needed to restore vitality and credibility to the public service. 

The Volcker chair supports a student-organized symposium on research in behavioral science and an annual lecture that has attracted a diverse group of scholars, including two Nobel Laureates and a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal awarded to the best economist under age 40. 

Lopoo succeeds Leonard Burman, named the inaugural Volcker Chair in 2014, five years after he joined Maxwell as the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs. Burman will return to the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, which he co-founded. He is also an Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute.

Lopoo’s work has been published in numerous journals, including Demography, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and Journal of Public Economics. He has received funding from federal agencies and foundations, including the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Aging, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and the Allyn Family Foundation. 

Lopoo is the recipient of several awards for his research and teaching, including the Birkhead-Burkhead Teaching Excellence Award, the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize. 

Lopoo received a Ph.D. from the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago in 2001 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Published in the Winter 2022 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

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