Rob Johnson

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Rob Johnson serves as President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

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.

By this expert

When the Levee Broke

Article | Sep 4, 2018

Ten years ago, the financial crisis washed away faith and trust in economics as a guide to social prosperity. Filling a void is difficult. We are still hard at work. 

INET Memo to G20: The Trouble with Economic Research Evaluation

Article | May 28, 2018

In a memo for the G20, INET calls for changes to the evaluation of economic research to ensure that economic theory—and policy—is more rigorous, innovative, and in service to society. 

Breaking the Stranglehold of the Orthodoxy in Economics

Article | May 28, 2018

Introducing INET’s body of work on dysfunctions in research evaluation, Rob Johnson shows how breaking academic conformity is vital for the economics profession—and the economy itself.

Learning from MLK, the Inconvenient Hero

Article | Apr 4, 2018

The vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years later, and the relevance of his economic ideas today

Featuring this expert

Rob Johnson is quoted on Biden's transition team in Foreign Policy

News Dec 15, 2020

“But some progressives are worried that “Biden is working backwards from identity,” as one longtime political observer put it, designing a cabinet stocked with diversity but less focused on making the changes that many progressives see as long overdue, both in terms of domestic and foreign policy. “I applaud the formidable progress in the diversity of cabinet and key administration appointments. It is long overdue for America,” said Robert Johnson, the president of the Soros-backed Institute for New Economic Thinking. “But it is not a substitute for taking on monied power interests to produce reform leading to broad-based prosperity. If identity politics is used as a mask to avoid that enormous challenge, it will be very dangerous for the already polarized politics of the USA.” — Michael Hirsh, Foreign Policy

Bonds or Bust!

George Soros: Proposal for Perpetual Bonds — A Discussion on the Future of European Fiscal Capacity

YSI Event Discussion YSI | Dec 4, 2020

George Soros’ latest op-ed in the Project Syndicate reasserts his view how perpetual bonds could help the European Union overcome its deadlock on fiscal spending.

Rob Johnson is quoted in Foreign Policy on Biden’s transition task force

News Nov 16, 2020

Robert Johnson, the head of the progressive Institute for New Economic Thinking, calls the Biden task force a “real good group.” But he then asked: “What power will they really have … after the power of money bends the best designs in a self-interested direction?”

Rob Johnson joined Terrence McNally's podcast

News Nov 6, 2020

“It looks as if Joe Biden will win a very tight electoral college victory against arguably the worst president in history in the midst of a deadly pandemic and crippled economy the incumbent has bungled disastrously. How could this election even be close? ROB JOHNSON, Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), and I talk about how we got here and what it’s going to take to move forward. As long as both parties depend on Wall Street and the 1% for funding, our real challenges - climate change, restoring the middle class, healthcare, systemic racism, etc.- will never truly be dealt with.” —- Terrence McNally

Offsite links

Will Trump’s White Working Class Voters Be Seduced and Abandoned?

Nov 21, 2016 Background Briefing with Ian Masters