Rick McGahey

Rick McGahey (PhD, Economics, New School for Social Research) is a Senior Fellow at the Schwartz Center and the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy. Before that, he was a Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, where he also served as a Faculty Fellow at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. McGahey has worked in academia, philanthropy, the private sector, and government at all levels—federal, state, and local—and is a nationally recognized expert on urban and regional economic development, program evaluation, retirement policy, and workforce development.

At the Ford Foundation, McGahey was the Director of Impact Assessment, developing and implementing assessments to help the Foundation achieve greater impact, and also was a Program Officer focusing on economic and workforce development emphasizing equity and community development for economic, social, and environmental goals. Before joining Ford, he was a Managing Vice President at Abt Associates, a consulting, research and evaluation firm where he directed work on education, childhood development, social welfare, and workforce development, responsible for an annual portfolio of over $20 million in evaluation grants and contracts.

McGahey also has extensive experience in the public sector. During President Clinton’s second term, he served as Assistant Secretary for Policy, and later for Pension and Welfare Benefits, at the U.S. Department of Labor under Secretary Alexis Herman. He also served as Executive Director of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and as Economic Policy Advisor for Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). At the state and local level, McGahey was Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Research for the New York State Department of Economic Development and Deputy Comptroller for Policy and Management for the City of New York. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research and has taught at The New School, New York University, John Jay College, and the George Washington University.


By this expert

Robots, Universal Basic Income, and the Welfare State

Article | Jan 5, 2017

Evidence thus far questions the assumption that robotics are eliminating jobs. INET Senior Vice President for Programs Rick McGahey says the UBI debate should focus on the long-term weakening of labor’s bargaining power

Why is Economics Still Largely a White Male Preserve?

Article | Nov 17, 2016

How economics underperforms in diversity, and some potential remedies

The Pros and Cons of a Universal Basic Income

Article | Aug 29, 2016

In June of this year, Swiss voters saw an initiative on their ballots calling for an “unconditional basic income” that would “allow the whole population to lead a decent life and participate in public life.” Put on the ballot by a petition drive after it was rejected in parliament, the initiative was rejected by 77 percent of Swiss voters, with 23 percent approving.

​Why Does Economics Reject New Thinking?

Article | Jul 29, 2016

On George Akerlof’s “The Market for Lemons”

Featuring this expert

Unequal Cities

Video | Apr 17, 2024

Overcoming Anti-Urban Bias to Reduce Inequality in the United States

Why is America So Anti-City? It Holds Back the Entire Country.

Article | Mar 20, 2023

A new book by economist Richard McGahey examines the country’s anti-urban structure and ideology, offering insights on how American cities can thrive.


From the Origins of Economic Ideas to the Challenges of Our Time

Event Plenary | Oct 21–23, 2017

INET gathered hundreds of new economic thinkers in Edinburgh to discuss the past, present, and future of the economics profession.

The Institute at ASSA

Event Discussion | Jan 2, 2016

Join us for a reception at the ASSA conference in San Francisco