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Three Berkeley experts join Gov. Newsom’s Council of Economic Advisors

The three Berkeley economists appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom have expertise in areas such as globalization, poverty and inequality, and the future of work

Headshots of three Berkeley economists appointed to Gov. Gavin Newsom's Council of Economic Advisors: Laura D. Tyson, Hilary Hoynes and Maurice Obstfeld
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed three UC Berkeley economists to his new Council of Economic Advisors. From left: Laura D. Tyson, Hilary Hoynes and Maurice Obstfeld
headshot of Laura D. Tyson, Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School and faculty director, Institute for Business & Social Impact

Laura D. Tyson

Three UC Berkeley economists with deep experience in national and international policy have been appointed to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new Council of Economic Advisors, the governor’s office has announced.

The 13-member panel will be co-chaired by Laura D. Tyson, a distinguished Professor of the Graduate School at Berkeley and faculty director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact at the Haas School of Business. Tyson was a member of President Bill Clinton’s cabinet between 1993 and 1996, serving as chair of his Council of Economic Advisers from 1993 to 1995 and as director of the White House National Economic Council from 1995 to 1996.

Also named to the council were Hilary Hoynes, professor of public policy and economics and the Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities at the Goldman School of Public Policy, and Maurice Obstfeld, the Class of 1958 Professor of Economics, who previously served as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

headshot of Hilary Hoynes, professor of public policy and economics and the Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities in the Goldman School of Public Policy

Hilary Hoynes

The council will advise Newsom and Keely Martin Bosler, director of the California Department of Finance, on wide-ranging economic issues and reinforce links between government and academia, the governor’s office said.

While California’s economy is currently thriving, “we need to invest for the future, adapt to a changing climate and keep our budget balanced,” Newsom said in a statement issued Friday. “This Council will keep its pulse on what’s happening in our economy while making policy recommendations to prepare us for what’s to come.”

The council also will include Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and Lenny Mendonca, Newsom’s chief economic and business adviser.

For more than 20 years, Tyson has been influential at the highest global levels of economics and public policy. Much of her recent work has focused on how automation will shape the future of work. She is the co-organizer of WITS (Work and Intelligent Tools and Systems), an interdisciplinary faculty group created to explore the impact of digital technologies and artificial intelligence on working, earning and learning.

headshot of Maurice Obstfeld, Class of 1958 Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley

Maurice Obstfeld

“I look forward to working with this expert group of advisers to support Gov. Newsom’s goal of fostering inclusive, sustainable, long-term economic growth for all of California,” Tyson said. “As the world’s 5th largest economy and the nation’s leader in innovation and new business formation, California is in a strong position to tackle major economic challenges — including adapting to climate change, creating good job opportunities throughout the state and reducing homelessness.”

She is an expert on trade and competitiveness and has devoted considerable study to the links between women’s rights and national economic performance. She also chairs the board of trustees at Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies, which explores solutions to global poverty. She previously served as dean of Berkeley Haas from 1998 to 2001.

Hoynes, co-director of the Berkeley Opportunity Lab, focuses on poverty, inequality, food and nutrition programs and the impacts of government tax and transfer programs on low-income families. The lab’s current projects include evaluating how support from the social safety net in early life can affect health in later life and the impact of the Great Recession on poverty.

“The challenges and opportunities facing California often serve as the frontier of public policy for the rest of the nation,” Hoynes said. “I am honored to be a part of this council and excited to support the governor’s priorities around homelessness and housing insecurity, investments in children and inequality.”

Obstfeld served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2014 to 2015 and as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund from 2015 to 2018. Before that, he served as an honorary adviser to the Bank of Japan’s Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies. He chaired Berkeley’s Department of Economics from 1998 to 2001. Among economists and economics students, he is well-known as co-author of the textbook Foundations of International Macroeconomics.

In a statement, Obstfeld noted that, in size, California’s economy trails only that of the United States itself, China, Japan and Germany, and that it accounts for nearly 15% of the U.S. gross domestic product.

“As Governor Newsom said in his State of the State speech, we should have the courage to be a laboratory for solving problems that are shared by much of the country, and indeed, much of the world,” Obstfeld said. “I am honored to be part of this group, which will advise the governor on a range of challenges including climate, health, education, the future of work and affordable housing.”