Leading Poverty Economist Patricia Ruggles Joins NORC at the University of Chicago as a Senior Fellow in the Economics, Labor, and Population Studies Department

6/12/2013, Bethesda, MD. Patricia Ruggles, Ph.D., a long-time advocate for better poverty measurement and other important economic and social indicators, has been named a Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago.  Ruggles has worked at the highest levels in both government and higher education. She has also written books and journal articles on poverty and on improving the quality of the economic and social statistics used for research and policy analysis. She has testified frequently before Congress on these issues, and was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in recognition of her work on improving economic and social measurement.

“NORC at the University of Chicago has a strong track record in providing high-quality data and analysis on issues of social importance, and I look forward to being able to contribute to those efforts,” said Ruggles. “I will continue to work on issues relating to poverty, and will also conduct research on the accuracy and appropriateness of measures used to compute cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security and other programs. I believe that good data, accurate and appropriate statistical measures, and effective, high-quality dissemination of data and research findings are all crucial to good policy decisions.” 

“Patricia Ruggles’ deep expertise studying poverty and improving the methods leading researchers employ to understand this problem is invaluable to our organization and her field,” said Dan Gaylin, Executive Vice President, Research Programs at NORC. “NORC is fortunate to have her join our staff.”

Ruggles has held two National Science Foundation (NSF)/American Statistical Association fellowships at the Bureau of the Census, both focused on improving data quality and usability. The analyses of poverty-related issues that came out of her first NSF fellowship contributed to her book, Drawing the Line, which analyzed the impacts of alternative poverty measures. Ruggles’ second NSF fellowship at the U.S. Census Bureau focused on improving welfare program data in the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and led to her well-known work with economist Rebecca Blank on the dynamics of welfare participation.

“We are excited to add an economist of Patricia Ruggles’ experience and expertise to our department,” said Chet Bowie, Senior Vice President and Director of the Economics, Labor, and Population studies department at NORC. “Here at NORC, she will continue her work on improving the quality of the data and measures policymakers use to make critical decisions on social policy.”

From 1996 to 2001, Ruggles was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy and the Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In that role she was responsible for an annual budget of about $20 million to oversee research on issues relating to income, poverty, and human services programs.  Both before and after her employment at HHS, Ruggles served on the staff of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, from which she retired as Staff Director in 2003. She was also a visiting professor at Georgetown University in 2003-2004.

To speak to Patricia Ruggles please contact Public Affairs Manager Eric Young at young-eric@norc.org, 301-634-9536 or cell: 703-217-6814

About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research organization with more than 70 years of leadership and experience in data collection, analysis, and dissemination. NORC supports a national field staff and international research operations collaborating with governments, educational and nonprofit organizations, and businesses to provide data and analysis that support informed decision making in health, education, economics, crime, justice, energy, security, and the environment.