HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Isabelle and Scott Black Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus


As President Obama takes charge, expectations are high. The economic crisis, global warming, healthcare, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict all need to be addressed. But as the nation's challenges are growing, the federal government faces a serious people problem, one that must be tackled if Obama wants to achieve his ambitious policy goals. The federal government - comprised of 1.9 million men and women - is expected to lose nearly one-third of its most talented and experienced workers, largely as a result of the baby boomer retirement wave. This brain drain will have serious consequences if left unaddressed. It is time for serious civil service reforms that will allow Washington to recruit the "best and the brightest" into government service. But it won't be easy.


Ellwood, David, and Max Stier. "Plugging the Federal Brain Drain." Boston Globe, January 23, 2009.