Jeffrey Liebman, the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, became the Rappaport Institute's director in July of 2014. Jeffrey teaches courses in public sector economics and American economic policy and focuses his research on tax and budget policy, social insurance, poverty, income inequality, and social innovation. Recent research has examined the impacts of government programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Social Security, housing vouchers, SNAP, and Disability Insurance. Liebman also directs the Harvard Kennedy School’s Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government. During the first two years of the Obama Administration, Liebman worked at OMB, first as Executive Associate Director and Chief Economist and then as Acting Deputy Director. From 1998 to 1999, Liebman served as Special Assistant to the President for economic policy and coordinated the Clinton Administration's Social Security reform technical working group. Liebman received his BA from Yale University and his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard. He can be reached by email.
Steve Poftak is the Executive Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at the Harvard Kennedy School. He also serves as the Vice-Chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board, as well as serving on the MassDOT Board of Directors. Previously, Poftak was Research Director and Director of the Center for Better Government at the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. He has led research projects and authored a number of papers on transportation policy, government efficiency, municipal finance, and job creation. Prior to that, he worked at the Commonwealth's Executive Office for Administration and Finance, where he managed the $1.3 billion capital budget, prepared the state's quarterly cash flow reporting, and monitored non-tax revenue receipts. Poftak holds an MBA from the Olin School at Babson College and a BA in Political Science from Middlebury College. He is a Boston resident and has children who attend the Boston Public Schools. He can be reached by email.
Polly O'Brien is the Institute's associate director. She was the Institute’s assistant director from 2005 - 2012 and previously was a program manager and administrative assistant at the Institute. Before joining the Institute in 2002, she was a project manager at Sky Dog Technologies, a website design firm in Arlington. She came to that job from the Consensus Building Institute, a conflict and dispute resolution firm in Cambridge where she was webmaster and editor of the organization's newsletter, CBI Reports, and where she assisted in training preparation and project management. O’Brien has also worked for the Boston Natural Areas Fund, where she was curator of an educational study on the history of the Neponset River and oversaw the creation of an exhibit on the Neponset River that traveled to local schools and historical societies. She received an M.A. in classics from Boston University. She can be reached at 617-495-5091 or by email.