Work & Livable Lives Conference Feb. 27 and 28

Biden's former chief economist and economic policy adviser to keynote

Washington University in St. Louis will host the “Work & Livable Lives Conference” Feb. 27 and 28 to address current employment-related challenges and how they limit the ability of U.S. households to lead secure and stable lives, raise children successfully, and contribute to the community.

“The conference will not only focus on problems, but also on constructive solutions, exploring policy approaches to employment supports, health care, and job creation,” says Michael Sherraden, PhD, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development and director of the Brown School’s Center for Social Development, one of the sponsors of the conference.

The conference will include panels on household financial fragility, measurement of economic security, the American Dream, labor and employment policy, and health policy and employment.

Jared Bernstein, PhD, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden, will deliver the conference keynote address, “Rebuilding an Opportunity Society: The Roles of Policy and Power,” at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 27. A reception will follow Bernstein’s speech.

All conference events will be held in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom of Anheuser-Busch Hall and are free and open to the public. A complete schedule of events is available at

“With persistently high unemployment and underemployment — and growing inequality in wages — an increasing number of American families are no longer adequately supported by employment income and basic benefits,” says Marion Crain, JD, the Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law and director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work & Social Capital at the School of Law, which co-sponsors the conference.

“Many older workers have ‘retired’ before they are ready, and many young workers cannot find a foothold in the job market,” she says. “A silent crisis is under way, with huge social and economic costs for the nation.”

Other WUSTL conference sponsors are the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences; the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy; the American Culture Studies department in Arts & Sciences; and the Office of the Provost.

The conference is held in partnership with the Brown School Policy Forum at Washington University and the New America Foundation in Washington, DC.

This event is part of the university-wide Livable Lives Initiative, which investigates social conditions and policy supports that can make life with a low or moderate income stable, secure, satisfying and successful.