Susan R. Holmberg

Susan Holmberg is a political economist and a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where she researches and writes on inequality, corporate governance, and climate change issues. Susan is the author and co-author of numerous books, reports, and articles including, The Hidden Rules of Race, Rewriting the Rules (with Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz), "Boiling Points," and The Atlantic essay, “Can CEO Pay Ever Be Reeled In?” Her writing has also appeared in The New York TimesThe Nation, Democracy Journal, SalonGristTruthout, and The Hill.

For four years, Susan also served as Research Director for the Roosevelt Institute where she was responsible for creating and upholding the quality standards for the organization’s research papers and reports.

Prior to joining the Roosevelt Institute, Susan researched and taught on a range of issues, including feminist economics, international and rural development, and cooperative business organizations. She also worked on economics education reform as the Program Director at both Econ4 and the Center for Popular Economics.

Susan holds a Ph.D. in Economics from UMass, Amherst, the premier center for research and teaching in heterodox economics. During graduate school, she spent three years as Research Assistant at the Political Economy Research Institute (the organization that famously debunked the influential Rogoff/Reinhart “Growth in the Time of Debt” paper). Before earning her Ph.D., she worked as Research Analyst and a Community Organizer at the Center for Rural Studies in Vermont.

Susan lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Tom Hilbink, and their children.

Also posted at the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy website. The Democratic primary debate on Thursday night was probably the first time that soil management—as climate policy—was ever mentioned at a primetime presidential campaign event. It was also one of the first tangible mentions of farm policy in two nights of debates. “Carbon farming”—building

Who Are the Shareholders?

The ideology of “shareholder primacy”—the belief that businesses function solely to profit and “maximize value” for shareholders—has had a profound and toxic effect on our economy. Corporate executives used to, in large part, manage companies for the long term, workers had more bargaining power and greater economic security, and the economy was more dynamic. Today,

In the last few years, a wave of student divestment campaigns has swept across American colleges and universities as a way to combat climate change and, more recently, Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. These students should exert similar pressure on their universities’ endowments to fight against the toxic, shortsighted forces of next-quarter capitalism—a growing trend in

On Wednesday a handful of U.S.-based corporations, with AT&T leading the way, announced that, in light of the recently passed tax bill, they will be giving their employees a one-time bonus. Before anyone else begins claiming that this tax bill is going to spur business investment and favor the working class, let’s remember a few

Fighting Short-Termism With Worker Power asks, “Can Germany’s co-determination system fix American corporate governance?” Prioritizing immediate increases in share price and payouts at the expense of long-term business investment and growth—a behavior we refer to as short-termism—has driven the inequality crisis in America and weakened our economy. By comparing the German stakeholder system of co-determination

The People’s Climate March in April reminds me how far we’ve come in understanding that climate change is deeply tied to another ominous 21st threat: economic and social inequality. Even in the U.S., one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, we are beginning to recognize that there are and will be vast climate

The United States is currently facing two ominous threats: climate change and economic and social inequality. The climate movement has made enormous headway in highlighting the connections between the two, but we must go even deeper if we hope to make progress on both fronts. The objective of Boiling Points: The Inextricable Links Between Inequality

Rewrite the Racial Rules: Building an Inclusive American Economy argues that, in order to understand racial and economic inequality among black Americans, we must acknowledge the racial rules that undergird our economy and society. Those rules—laws, policies, institutions, regulations, and normative practices—are the driving force behind the patently unequal life chances and opportunities for too many individuals. In

In April, Gretchen Morgenson boldly called out the hypocrisy of BlackRock pillorying corporate short-termism while the investment giant simultaneously approved more than 96 percent of executive pay packages last fiscal year. She also described one BlackRock investor’s intrepid campaign to better align the company’s supposed philosophy with its executive pay practices: Stephen Silberstein, a retired

Next week marks the 5th anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act. While the law has made some solid strides toward regulating Wall Street (with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau arguably the most potent and popular), there is still much work to be done, particularly in the realm of

Cross-posted from Grist Tackling economic inequality is good climate change policy. The pope’s encyclical on climate change was received with both enormous enthusiasm and criticism, reactions that will only intensify as he continues to lead efforts to solve our climate crisis and generate momentum for the UN Climate Conference later this year. His latest move? Inviting

Inequality is a choice—one that we make with the rules we create to structure our society and economy. In this report, Roosevelt Chief Economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, joined by co-authors Nell Abernathy, Adam Hersh, Susan Holmberg, and Mike Konczal, exposes the link between the rapidly rising fortunes of America’s wealthiest citizens and increasing economic

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Hillary Clinton surprised many progressives earlier this week with her remarks on a model populist issue. “There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker. There’s something wrong when American workers keep getting more productive…but that productivity is not matched in their paychecks.” Indeed. From 1978 to 2013, executive compensation at American

Taxpayers are subsidizing ever-larger executive pay packages while their own wages stagnate. For the middle class to prosper, that needs to change. The intrepid economic proposals in Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s action plan “to grow the paychecks of all, not just the wealth of a few” may not win over a Republican Congress, but they

The problem of rising CEO pay is an extraordinarily complex and contested issue. This primer on CEO pay by Roosevelt Fellow and Director of Research Susan Holmberg and Roosevelter Michael Umbrecht serves to unpack this complicated topic by a) explaining the problems with CEO pay, including the harm it imposes on workers, businesses, and society;

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Income inequality will continue to rise unless we close the performance pay loophole and curb the growth of executive compensation. For more, see “Fixing a Hole: How the Tax Code for Executive Pay Distorts Economic Incentives and Burdens Taxpayers,” by Susan Holmberg and Lydia Austin. It’s proxy season again, and we will soon be deluged with

This report provides a generalized cost-benefit analysis of a potential rule promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would require public corporations to disclose corporate political spending. Existing evidence on both the dynamics of corporate political spending and the costs and benefits of SEC mandatory disclosure in general, as well as the use

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Of the few provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that address governance of excessive executive compensation, the Say-on-Pay provision is the only one that the U.S. has actually implemented. Critics argue that Say-on-Pay has been a colossal failure in the three years that it has been in effect, and that

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In an effort to curb excessive pay for corporate executives, when President Clinton signed his first budget into law in 1993, he created Section 162(m) of the Federal tax code, which limited the corporate tax deductibility for executive compensation to $1 million. It included, however, an exception from any limit in deductibility for “performance pay.”

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