Robert Johnson

Institute for New Economic Thinking

Robert Johnson serves as President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York.

Johnson is an international investor and consultant to investment funds on issues of portfolio strategy. He recently served on the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform under the Chairmanship of Joseph Stiglitz.

Previously, Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. Prior to working at Soros Fund Management, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund.

Johnson served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin). Before this, he was Senior Economist of the US Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico).

Johnson was an Executive Producer of the Oscar winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, directed by Alex Gibney, and is the former President of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of both the Economic Policy Institute and the Campaign for America’s Future.

Johnson received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Princeton University and a B.S. in both Electrical Engineering and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

My Content

The wound of the financial crisis of 2008, and the challenge to the legitimacy of our governance, is still very much with us.

Despite the frequent claims of policy officials who presided over the bailouts and regulators, it would be impossible to say that the public demoralization has been rectified and that that a balanced social contract between society and the large complex financial institutions has been achieved. As Andy Haldane wrote in 2009, financial Institutions continue banking on the state and the legitimacy of governance continues to be doubted. 

The Institute for New Economic Thinking will issue a request for proposals for grants in September 2014 with awards to be announced in March 2015. 
Priority research themes emphasized by the governing board of the Institute of New Economic Thinking will be presented at the time of the announcement, along with a finalized application timeline.
This year, the Institute is additionally interested in grant applications for the provision of a wider range of curricular materials designed to support better economic thinking and teaching.

Trust is an essential part of a functioning economy, yet it is often one of the least understood variables in economics. That’s why the Institute for New Economic Thinking is supporting the Thomson Reuters TRust index, which provides concrete metrics for understanding the level of trust in the financial system using a benchmark of the top 50 global financial institutions as a proxy for the sector as a whole. 

Editor's Note: Welcome to Crash Week! This week marks five years since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the financial crisis that followed. A lot has happened since then, but how much has changed? All week long we will be exploring this question from a variety of economic angles. Below is the first piece from Institute for New Economic Thinking President Rob Johnson. Stay tuned for contributions from our grantees, community members, leaders, and other prominent economic thinkers!

My Video Content

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What is it about free market ideas that give them tenacious staying power in the face of such manifest failures as persistent unemployment, widening inequality, and the severe financial crises that have stressed Western economies over the past 40 years? In this interview with Institute President Rob Johnson, Fred Block discusses his book The Power of Market Fundamentalism, which extends the work of the great political economist Karl Polanyi to explain why these ideas have been revived from disrepute after the Great Depression and World War II to become the dominant economic ideology of our time.

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Ajay Kela, a former Silicon Valley software executive who heads the Wadhwani Foundation, is passionate about the transformative power of entrepreneurial thinking.

However, bringing the concept of entrepreneurship to a largely risk-averse society such as India’s is not a simple task. That’s why Wadhwani focuses on job development, skills development, and policy changes all designed to instill an entrepreneurial mindset into the Indian culture.

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Institute President Rob Johnson interviews David Cay Johnston about his new book, Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality.

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Since its release in late 2013, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Transition Report “Stuck In Transition” has generated a lot of attention for its compelling and provocative conclusions about the intersection between economic and political reform.
In this “New Economic Thinking” interview, EBRD Chief Economist and Special Adviser to the President Erik Berglof, who also is a member of the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s Governing Board, discusses the report’s findings with Institute President Rob Johnson.
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A special event with Harvard professor and Institute for New Economic Thinking Senior Fellow Michael Sandel. 
Sandel discusses his recent book, What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, in conversation with students, Institute President Rob Johnson, and Union Theological Seminary President Serene Jones.


Don't forget to apply for our FREE undergraduate seminar
with Michael Sandel 
the deadline is January 3, 2014!