Robert Moffitt, the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics, is one of two Johns Hopkins University professors in the 2012 class of new fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. With the election of Moffitt, along with Jef Boeke, a professor of molecular biology and genetics in the School of Medicine, 50 active and retired members of the Johns Hopkins faculty are now fellows of the academy, founded in 1780.
Moffitt and Boeke join some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts from each generation who have been elected to the academy, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Moffitt is an authority on the incentives and disincentives inherent in the United States welfare system. Much of his research in labor economics has concerned the labor supply decisions of female heads of family and the effect their choices have on the welfare system. His research has led to publications about the Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Food Stamp, and Medicaid programs. He has published research on the labor supply effects of social insurance programs, including Social Security, unemployment insurance, and disability insurance, as well as the U.S. income tax system. Moffitt has also studied the pattern of real wages over the business cycle and volatility in the U.S. labor market, as well as trends in U.S. earnings inequality, labor mobility, and state government decision-making. His research also focuses on population economics and economic demography, an area in which he has estimated economic models of marriage, cohabitation, female headship and fertility.
Moffitt joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1995, and he holds a joint appointment at the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is a past chief editor of the American Economic Review, a fellow of the Econometric Society and the Society of Labor Economists, and a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences. Moffitt received a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health and a Guggenheim Fellowship, is a past vice president of the Population Association of America and served as chair of the National Academy of Sciences Panel to Evaluate Welfare Reform.
Boeke and Moffitt, who were elected April 17, will be inducted Oct. 6 in Cambridge, Mass., alongside other newly minted fellows, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, American film icons Clint Eastwood and Mel Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon, composer Andre Previn, Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos, Walt Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger, and philanthropist Melinda F. Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The academy also elected 17 foreign honorary members, including British recording artist and former member of The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney, and Dutch stem cell researcher Johannes C. Clevers.
Academy fellows and foreign honorary members are nominated and elected to the academy by current members. A broad-based membership of scholars and practitioners from mathematics, physics, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts, public affairs and business allows the academy to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary studies and public policy research.