Scholar in Social Security and Entitlement Policy

Cato Institute Scholar
Location Washington DC, United States
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
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The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization—a think tank—dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues. Founded in 1977, Cato owes its name to Cato’s Letters, a series of essays published in 18th- century England that presented a vision of a society free from excessive government power.

Those essays inspired the architects of the American Revolution. And the simple, timeless principles of that revolution — individual liberty, limited government, and free markets – turn out to be even more powerful in today’s world of global markets and unprecedented access to information than Jefferson or Madison could have imagined. Social and economic freedom is not just the best policy for free people, it is the indispensable framework for the future. Cato Institute is an EOE.

The role

The Cato Institute is seeking to hire a full-time scholar to work on Social Security and entitlement policy in Washington DC. The scholar will be responsible for working with an economist to model Social Security’s finances, propose reforms to Social Security, model the effects of those proposed reforms, and communicate broadly on this issue area from a perspective consistent with the Cato Institute’s principles (see below). The scholar’s written analyses will be published in multiple formats including policy analyses, working papers, op-eds, blog posts, white papers, and others.

The scholar will also be expected to speak widely with policymakers on Capitol Hill, members of the media, and at public events. If the scholar excels in analyzing Social Security policy, the scholar’s responsibilities will grow to include other entitlement programs. The scholar will report directly to the Director of Economic and Social Policy Studies.

The successful candidate will have knowledge of Social Security policy, understand models that project Social Security’s financial solvency, work well with a small team, develop new Social Security reform proposals, have a broad interest in other entitlement programs, and be industrious, motivated, and principled. Job title and compensation are competitive and will be based on the experience and skills of the successful candidate.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Work closely with an economist to accurately model the finances of the Social Security system.
  • Author original empirical and non-empirical research on Social Security using Cato’s model.
  • Write op-eds, blog posts, and social media content to create new policy proposals to reform the Social Security system that are consistent with Cato’s principles.
  • The scholar’s longer-term goal will also be to apply their knowledge and expertise to other entitlement programs if they excel at working on Social Security policy. This will be done individually as well as in collaboration with other Cato scholars.
  • Make presentations to audiences, participate in panel discussions, and make media appearances related to Social Security and entitlement policy.
  • Organize policy forums and other events about Social Security and other entitlement programs.
  • Speak frequently with policymakers about Cato’s proposed reforms to Social Security and other entitlement programs.
  • Commission and edit studies from outside experts on Social Security and other entitlement programs, when appropriate.

Experience and skills

  • Must have a good grasp of current Social Security politics and policy, including an understanding of models that project Social Security’s financial solvency.
  • Must have an interest in broader entitlement policy.
  • Must have a strong commitment to Cato’s values.
  • Must have strong writing and communication skills.
  • Must have a strong grasp of economics.
  • Must have the ability to work on multiple tasks independently on a time-sensitive basis, a commitment to accuracy, and creativity in developing innovative new ways to reform Social Security along libertarian lines.
  • Must be able to participate in or plan events, including conferences and webinars.
  • Familiarity with quantitative methods and software packages or programming languages used for data analysis (such as Stata or R) is strongly preferred.
  • Experience on Capitol Hill, either as Hill staff or in other capacities, is preferred.
  • An advanced degree in economics or other social sciences is preferred.
  • Knowledge of and interest in Medicare and other entitlement programs is preferred.