James Poterba

James Poterba

Mitsui Professor of Economics

Research Fields

Financial Economics, Public Economics

Contact Information

Office Phone 617-253-6673
Email Address poterba@mit.edu
Office E52-444
Assistant Name Ben Boehlert

James Poterba is the Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT and the President of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-profit research organization with more than 1700 affiliated economists. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association (AEA), a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Finance Association (AFA), the British Academy and the Econometric Society. He has served as President of the Eastern Economic Association and the National Tax Association, as vice president of the AEA, and as a director of the AFA.

His research focuses on how taxation affects the economic decisions of households and firms, particularly those involving saving and portfolio behavior. His recent research has analyzed the determinants of retirement saving, the draw-down of assets after households reach retirement, and the role of tax-deferred retirement saving programs such as 401(k) plans in contributing to retirement security.

Poterba is a trustee of the College Retirement Equity Fund (CREF). He is a past trustee of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and a former editor of the Journal of Public Economics. He is a coauthor of The Role of Annuity Markets in Financing Retirement (2001), and an editor or coeditor of Policy Responses to Tax Competition (forthcoming), Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment (2021), Fiscal Reform in Colombia (2005), Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance (1999), Empirical Foundations of Household Taxation (1996), International Comparisons of Household Saving (1994), and Global Warming: Economic Policy Responses (1991).  He served as a member of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform in 2005.

Dr. Poterba holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a D. Phil. in Economics from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He has been an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, a Batterymarch Fellow, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 2014 he received the Daniel M. Holland Medal from the National Tax Association for the study and practice of public finance.

Featured Awards & Honors

Distinguished Fellow, American Economic Association
Fellow, American Finance Association
Member, National Academy of Sciences
Daniel M. Holland Medal, National Tax Association
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences