Robert Kuttner

Meyer and Ida Kirstein Professor in Social Planning and Administration

Robert  Kuttner's photo


Office: Heller-Brown Building 367
Phone: 781-736-5311
Brandeis Directory


Politics of the Welfare State
International Political Economy and Globalization
Politics and History of Managed Capitalism


  • HS 308f - Markets and Social Justice: Classics of Political Economy
  • HS 317f - Labor Income, Labor Power, and Labor Markets
  • HS 354a - The Political Economy of the American Welfare State


  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Oberlin College

Robert Kuttner

Meyer and Ida Kirstein Professor in Social Planning and Administration


Robert Kuttner currently teaches two courses at the Heller School, a fall module on Labor History and Labor Policy; and a spring semester course on the Political Economy of the American Welfare State. He has also taught at Boston University, The University of Massachusetts, the University of Oregon, and at Harvard's Institute of Politics.

For most of his career, he has been an economics journalist. Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, He was a longtime columnist for BusinessWeek and The Boston Globe. He was a founder of the Economic Policy Institute and serves on its board.

Kuttner is author of twelve books, including the 2008 New York Times bestseller, Obama's Challenge: American's Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency. His best-known earlier book is Everything for Sale: the Virtues and Limits of Markets (1997). His other books on economics and politics include: The Squandering of America (2007), The End of Laissez-Faire (1991); The Life of the Party (1987); The Economic Illusion (1984); Revolt of the Haves (1980); Debtors’ Prison (2013); Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalsm? (2017); and The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy (2019).

Kuttner’s other writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Book Review, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Dissent, Foreign Affairs, New Statesman, Columbia Journalism Review, Political Science Quarterly, and Harvard Business Review. He has contributed major articles to The New England Journal of Medicine as a national policy correspondent.

His other positions have included national staff writer and columnist on The Washington Post, chief investigator of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, executive director of President Carter’s National Commission on Neighborhoods, and economics editor of The New Republic.

He is the two-time winner of the Sidney Hillman Journalism Award, the John Hancock Award for Business and Financial Writing, the Jack London Award for Labor Writing, and the Paul Hoffman Award of the United Nations Development Program for his lifetime work on economic efficiency and social justice. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Fellow, German Marshall Fund Fellow, and John F. Kennedy Fellow.

Kuttner's journalism and scholarly research has been at the intersection of economic and politics. His current research is on the impact of globalization on political democracy at the level of the nation state; and on possible alternatives to the current structure of the economy that would be more conducive to greater equality of income, wealth, and opportunity as well as to stronger democracy.

Robert Kuttner was educated at Oberlin College (A.B), The London School of Economics, and the University of California at Berkeley (M.A). He holds honorary doctorates from Swarthmore and Oberlin.

Awards and Honors

  • Honorary Doctorate from Oberlin (2015)
  • Honorary Doctorate, Swarthmore (2000)


  • Kuttner, Robert,. Debtors' Prison: the Politics of Austerity versus Possibility.. Vintage/Random House, 2016.