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Joe Nation

Joe's portrait

Joe Nation

Project Director, Pension Tracker Project
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)
(650) 724-9532


Joe Nation is a Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at Stanford University. He directs the graduate student Practicum in public policy and teaches policy courses on climate change, health care, and California state issues. He is also the Catherine R. Kennedy and Daniel L. Grossman Fellow in Human Biology, where he teaches environmental policy. His current research is focused on public finance and public employee pensions. He is also a Principal at his own consulting firm, where his clients include RAND, other research organizations, and several California municipal governments.

Nation was elected to the Marin Municipal Water District Board in 1992 and served two terms as Board President. From 2000-2006, he represented Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties in the California State Assembly. Born and raised in Texas, he worked as a newspaper delivery boy, dishwasher/bus boy, waiter, cook, grocery clerk, and eventually a Pan Am flight attendant to put himself through college.

After attending a junior college for three semesters, he transferred to the University of Colorado (CU), earning a B.A. in Economics, German and French and later, a Masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. While at Georgetown, Nation worked for both Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger. Nation subsequently received a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School; he then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford.

During his tenure, Nation authored 50 bills that were enacted into law. In the Assembly, he focused on legislation that improves education, the environment, health care, and transportation. He was named Legislator of the Year by the California County Boards of Education (2005), the California School Counselors (2003); California Society of Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery (2004), Certified Public Accountants (2002), and the Charter School Association (2002). Nation was the principal co-author of AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act. Nation was the sole legislative representative chosen to represent California at the 2006 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Nairobi.