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SIEPR’s Gopi Shah Goda to serve in Washington

Goda, a senior fellow and deputy director of SIEPR, will serve as a senior economist as part of President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers.
Gopi Shah Goda
Gopi Shah Goda

Gopi Shah Goda, a senior fellow and deputy director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), will serve as a senior economist as part of President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). The CEA is charged with advising the President on economic policy based on data, research, and evidence.  Her term begins July 12 and will extend until June 2022.

Goda, an expert on the economics of aging, will be focused on the Biden administration’s policy proposals related to long-term care, retirement, and social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

While working in Washington, D.C., Goda will be on sabbatical from Stanford. She will return to campus for the 2022-23 academic year. Her tenure in Washington will be partially supported by Stanford’s Scholars in Service program in Stanford Impact Labs in partnership with the Haas Center for Public Service.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to contribute my expertise to important policy issues while learning about how research is used in the policy process,” Goda said. “It’s such a big part of SIEPR’s mission to bridge the worlds of academia and policy, and I’m excited to play a very direct role in that.” 

Goda is the latest of many SIEPR scholars to work in public service, and several SIEPR senior fellows have served in the CEA and other government agencies under Republican and Democratic administrations. 

In the leadup to November’s presidential election, Goda moderated a conversation at SIEPR about the candidates’ economic platforms between Austan Goolsbee, who led the CEA during the Obama administration, and Kevin Hassett, who had the same role under President Trump.

“I’m thrilled that Gopi will be helping shape some of the Biden administration’s economic policies,” said Mark Duggan, the Trione Director of SIEPR. “Her research is incredibly topical, and she’ll be a tremendous addition to the CEA.”

Much of Goda’s recent research has focused on the well-being of individuals as they age and the sustainability of public programs serving elderly and vulnerable populations.

One of her studies, for instance, examined whether workers’ reluctance to put money into their 401(k)s and other employer-based retirement plans was a matter of procrastination or lack of financial literacy. She found that different factors are at play depending on whether employees are automatically enrolled or not, and that insight can help create policies that will encourage people to make more appropriate saving decisions.  This work earned her the 2019 Financial Literacy Research Award from the Cherry Blossom Financial Education Institute.

She is currently examining how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected older workers’ employment and Social Security claiming decisions, and how removing penalties for early withdrawals from individual retirement accounts changes withdrawal patterns. She’s also analyzed whether the Affordable Care Act led to a decline in jobs, and found the law had relatively little impact on the job market.

"I’m very interested in questions related to the economic well-being of people as they age, and the sustainability of public programs serving elderly and vulnerable populations,” Goda said.

In addition to her roles at SIEPR, Goda teaches a course on the demographics and economics of aging in the economics department and has also taught in Stanford's public policy program. She is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. 

Her work has been supported by the Social Security Administration, the National Institutes on Aging, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the TIAA Institute, and has been published in a variety of leading economics journals.