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Jacob Stewart Hacker[1] (born 1971) is the Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University. Hacker has written works on social policy, health care reform, and economic insecurity in the United States.[2]

Jacob Hacker
Jacob hacker 4280046.jpg
Spouse(s)Oona A. Hathaway
Academic background
Alma materHarvard University,
Yale University
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical Science
Sub-disciplineHealth care policy
InstitutionsNew America,
Yale University


Early lifeEdit

Hacker was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. He graduated summa cum laude in 1994 from Harvard University with a B.A. in Social Studies, and he received his Ph.D. from Yale in Political Science in 2000.[2] His first book, The Road to Nowhere: The Genesis of President Clinton's Plan for Health Security, was published in 1996, while he was a graduate student at Yale.


Hacker is a media contributor and has testified before the United States Congress. He was widely recognized as a contributor to the health care plans for three of the leading Democratic candidates — Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards — in the presidential election of 2008.[3] Hacker's plan, Health Care for America, is outlined in a report for the Economic Policy Institute. It proposes providing health care for uninsured or under-insured Americans by requiring employers to either provide insurance to their workers or enroll them in a new, publicly overseen insurance pool. People in this pool could choose either a public plan modeled after Medicare or from regulated private plans.

Hacker's work with the international think tank Policy Network has had a major influence on the policies of many European political parties[4] and his concept of pre-distribution has become a cornerstone of the UK Labour Party's economic policy and his name has even been mentioned by Prime Minister David Cameron during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.[5]

Hacker was a fellow at New America in 1999 and 2002. In 2007 he co-chaired the National Academy of Social Insurance's conference, "For the Common Good," and oversees a Social Science Research Council project on the "privatization of risk."

Hacker's 2010 book, the New York Times bestseller Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Richer Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (Simon & Schuster), written with Paul Pierson of UC Berkeley, argues that since the late 1970s the American middle and working classes have fallen further and further behind economically because policy changes in government favor the rich and super-rich.

Their 2016 book American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper argues for the restoration and reinvigoration of the United States mixed economy.

In 2017, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[6]

The Economic Security Index (ESI)Edit

In July 2010 the Economic Security Index was launched. Developed by Hacker and a multi-disciplinary research team with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the ESI measures the share of Americans who experience at least a 25 percent decline in their income from one year to the next and who lack an adequate financial safety net to replace this lost income.

Personal lifeEdit

Hacker is married to Oona A. Hathaway, a Professor of Law at Yale University and former Supreme Court clerk to Sandra Day O'Connor.[7]


  • American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper. with Paul Pierson. Simon & Schuster. 2016. ISBN 978-1-4516-6782-0.CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. with Paul Pierson. Simon & Schuster. 2010. ISBN 978-1-4165-8869-6.CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Health at Risk: America's Ailing Health System--and How to Heal It. Columbia University Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-231-14602-9.
  • The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream. Oxford University Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-19-533534-7.
  • The Great Risk Shift: The Assault on American Jobs, Families, Health Care, and Retirement--And How You Can Fight Back. Oxford University Press. 2006. ISBN 978-0-19-517950-7.[8]
  • Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy. with Paul Pierson. Yale University Press. 2005. ISBN 978-0-300-10870-5.CS1 maint: others (link)
  • The Divided Welfare State: The Battle over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United States. Cambridge University Press. 2002. ISBN 978-0-521-01328-4.
  • The Road to Nowhere: The Genesis of President's Clinton's Plan for Health Security. Princeton University Press. 1996. ISBN 978-0-691-04423-1.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Middle name from Skocpol, Theda (1997). Boomerang: Health Care Reform and the Turn Against Government. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-393-31572-1. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Jacob Hacker". Political Science. Yale University. August 12, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  3. ^ Julie Rosner and Melissa Block, NPR News, February 22, 2008
  4. ^ "BBC News". The BBC. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
  5. ^ "Pre-distribution and the crisis in living standards". Policy Network. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  6. ^ "Five professors elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences". Yale News. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  7. ^ Hacker, Jacob (2002). The Divided Welfare State. Cambridge University Press. p. xvi. ISBN 978-0-521-01328-4.
  8. ^ Leonhardt, David (October 29, 2006). "The Shrinking Safety Net". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved November 15, 2010.

External linksEdit