The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research has created a new faculty fellow position in honor of George P. Shultz. The fellowship — made possible by the generosity of SIEPR supporters — marks the occasion of Shultz’ 100th birthday and recognizes his distinguished career in public service, business and academia, and his contributions to economic policy.
Shultz, who has held four federal cabinet-level posts and served under three presidents, is known also for his dedication to scholarship, including his visionary and advisory roles at SIEPR and as the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
The fellowship — first awarded to economics Professor Neale Mahoney — recognizes Shultz’ “unsurpassed contributions” to the creation, growth and success of SIEPR, said Mark Duggan, the institute’s Trione Director. Shultz has served on the Advisory Board of SIEPR since its inception in 1982 — the same year he accepted President Reagan’s offer to be secretary of state.
“The influence of Secretary Shultz on a broad range of economic policies related to the environment, trade, national security and entitlement reform is an inspiration to SIEPR’s vision, mission and everyday work,” Duggan said. “With this newly endowed position, we will continue to honor his contributions by ensuring that the holder of the fellowship exemplifies his leadership in areas where he’s made an impact.”
Shultz’ many accomplishments have spanned the worlds of diplomacy, government, corporations and universities. In addition to leading the U.S. State Department during the Reagan administration, he served as labor secretary and treasury secretary in the Nixon administration. He was also Nixon’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, and previously served on President Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisers. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.
Shultz said his career has “largely been one of learning good ideas from others, and then putting them into action.” And trusted research from top scholars is a key step in the path to action, he added, echoing the importance of trust, which he wrote about in an essay and a Washington Post column for his Dec. 13 birthday.
“SIEPR is well known for the quality of economic policy research. People trust it, and this makes it more impactful,” Shultz said. “It’s my hope that the SIEPR scholar supported by this new endowment will take research insights and keep on thinking — about how to use that trust and translate the ideas into good policy, into reality.”
John Shoven, who was SIEPR’s director for 20 years, said Shultz saw — and expressed — the need for an interdisciplinary economic policy research hub years before SIEPR’s founding. And as SIEPR grew, Shoven said Shultz was his “most valuable resource,” providing advice and lining up prominent speakers and visitors.
“George is a towering figure among American economists and public servants. He exemplifies what we are trying to do at SIEPR, and he points the direction that we hope Stanford students will aspire to,” Shoven said.
Shultz’ many contributions to SIEPR continue to make an impact.
For instance, in 1990, when the Annenberg Foundation offered Shultz grant funding, he directed it instead to SIEPR, to support graduate student fellowships. The fellowships have since supported dozens of students in their research over the years.
Also, the biennial SIEPR Prize was inspired and first funded by Shultz in 2010. The award recognizes economists who have made significant contributions to economic policy.
The new George P. Shultz Faculty Fellow position was endorsed and funded by numerous SIEPR supporters, including John and Cynthia Gunn, Mark and Sheila Wolfson, and Franklin “Pitch” and Cathie Johnson.
“George Shultz is one of the finest people in the history of our country. His combination of intelligence, hard work and loyalty are rare,” said Johnson, who has served on the SIEPR Advisory Board alongside Shultz for nearly 40 years.
“SIEPR is one of the many intellectual hubs on the Stanford campus that owes its existence and its growing influence to the convening power and magnetism of Secretary Shultz,” said Wolfson, a longtime faculty member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and SIEPR Advisory Board member. “It is only fitting to recognize his remarkable impact by naming this distinguished fellowship in his honor. And it is a privilege to invest in its establishment so that outstanding economic policy research can be supported to continue the good work that Secretary Shultz committed his life to promoting.”
Mahoney, the first to receive the Shultz fellowship, is an applied micro-economist with an interest in health care and consumer financial markets. He was named a Sloan Research Fellow in 2016 and is a co-editor of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. He also served as an economist at the Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration.
“I'm delighted and honored to accept the appointment as George P. Shultz Fellow,” Mahoney said. “I was a Shultz Scholar during my time as a graduate student at Stanford, and I’m thrilled to have the Shultz name affiliated with my research again.”