For decades, the Wall Street economic model was considered the gold standard for Washington politicians and economists alike. But today―after decades of stagnant wages in which economic gains have not reached working families―the central economic policy issue in the U.S. has become boosting wages.

And before the Occupy Wall Street movement or the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, there was Larry Mishel.
Throughout his career―long before becoming president of EPI―Larry has been focused on the rights and wages of working people. His first book, in 1986, titled The Polarization of America: The Loss of Good Jobs, Falling Incomes and Rising Inequality, was a precursor to EPI’s The State of Working America―a cornerstone of EPI research that was published every other year from 1988 to 2012 (and is now kept up-to-date online).
Larry was the first economist to compare typical workers’ wages with CEO pay. Larry, along with long-time collaborator Jared Bernstein, developed the now-famous chart that compares productivity growth with the growth of the wages or compensation of the typical wage earner.

The Wages and Productivity Chart and the CEO Pay Chart were the first of their kind and were created and curated by Larry over the last 30 years.
Senator Elizabeth Warren recently had this to say about EPI:
“By providing accessible and timely data on the minimum wage, overtime pay, earned sick leave, unemployment insurance, and so much more, EPI plays a critical role in these fights.”
Representative Keith Ellison had this to say:
“EPI was prescient. They saw the future and were ahead of the curve.”
And this is thanks to the leadership and vision of Larry Mishel.
Another lasting legacy of Larry’s is hiring women to leadership positions. EPI now has more women economists than any peer think tank in the country. Larry was also instrumental in the founding of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a network of 60 groups that partner with EPI on state and local policy. EPI’s Agenda for Shared Prosperity initiative in 2007 and 2008 incubated a number of policies that have shaped the economic policy agenda in the U.S., including raising the minimum wage and pro-worker trade policy.
After 30 years at EPI―15 as President―Larry is stepping aside at the end of 2017.
He will continue to engage in cutting-edge research on the rights and wages of working people, remaining at EPI as a senior researcher. But EPI will now begin a search for a new president to build on Larry’s legacy and EPI’s leadership on raising the pay of low- and middle-income families.
You can read recent research by Larry Mishel here, which focuses on wages, jobs, inequality, CEO pay, the minimum wage, the gig economy, unions, teachers, education issues, and much more.
Throughout his career, Larry Mishel has created a necessary counterbalance to the “common knowledge” Wall Street approach to economic policy in the U.S. He did this by helping to build EPI as a research organization willing to take on the conventional wisdom of either party, as well as through his own research contributions. He has advocated for working people since his days as a student at Penn State and while earning a PhD at the University of Wisconsin. Early in his career, Mishel served as an economist for several union organizations, including AFSCME; United Auto Workers; United Steelworkers; Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO; and the AFL-CIO Labor Studies Center. Mishel was also a professor at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
On behalf of the entire team at EPI and millions of working people across the country—thank you, Larry, for your years of service.
Ross Eisenbrey
Vice President, EPI
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