Prof. Laura Tyson to lead governor’s new economic council

Prof. Laura Tyson, Photo: Karl Nielsen
Prof. Laura Tyson (Photo: Karl Nielsen)

Influential economist Laura D’Andrea Tyson, who served as dean of Berkeley Haas and as a presidential advisor, has been named by Gov. Gavin Newsom to co-chair his new Council of Economic Advisors.

The 13-member panel, announced on Friday, will advise the governor and state finance director on wide-ranging economic issues “and deepen relationships between the administration and academic researchers to keep California moving toward an economy that is inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.”

Tyson will co-chair the council with Fernando Lozano, an economics professor at Pomona College. 

 “I look forward to working with this expert group of advisors to support Gov. Newsom’s goal of fostering inclusive, sustainable, long-term economic growth for all of California,” Tyson said. “As the world’s 5th largest economy and the nation’s leader in innovation and new business formation, California is in a strong position to tackle major economic challenges—including adapting to climate change, creating good job opportunities throughout the state, and reducing homelessness.”

Two other UC Berkeley professors were also appointed: Maurice Obstfeld, the Class of 1958 Professor of Economics who served on President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2014 to 2015 and as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund from 2015 to 2018, and economics and public policy Prof. Hilary Hoynes, the Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities and co-director of the Berkeley Opportunity Lab. Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, MBA 92, will also serve on the panel.

Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom (Wikimedia Commons)

“For California to continue thriving, we need our economy to work for everyone in every corner of the state,” Newsom said in a statement. “Our state is experiencing its longest economic expansion, with record-low unemployment—3.9 percent—increases in personal income, and billions in investments, but this expansion has unevenly benefited people across the state. We need to invest for the future, adapt to a changing climate and keep our budget balanced. This Council will keep its pulse on what’s happening in our economy while making policy recommendations to prepare us for what’s to come.”

 An expert on trade, competitiveness, and the future of work, Tyson is a distinguished professor of the graduate school and faculty director of the Institute for Business & Social Impact, which she launched in 2013. She also chairs the board of trustees at UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies, which aims to develop solutions to global poverty. She served as Berkeley Haas interim dean from July to December 2018, and as dean from 1998 to 2001. She led London Business School as dean from 2002 to 2006.

Under the Clinton administration, Tyson served as Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1993 to 1995 and as Director of the White House National Economic Council from 1995 to 1996. She was the first woman to hold those positions.

Much of Tyson’s recent research focuses on the effects of automation on the future of work. She has also devoted considerable policy attention to the links between women’s rights and national economic performance.

The new council will meet with and advise Gov. Newsom upon request. The group will be guided by the Department of Finance’s Chief Economist Irena Asmundson.