As director of the Center for Data Analysis (CDA), Rea S. Hederman Jr. is The Heritage Foundation's top "number cruncher." He oversees the think tank's original statistical research on taxes, health care, entitlements, energy, education and employment, among other issues.
Hederman is responsible for ensuring that research not only is rigorous in technical scholarship but produced in time to help inform public debate. He is a founding member of CDA, which Heritage created in 1997 to provide the public policy community with state-of-the-art modeling, database products and research assistance.
Hederman was promoted to CDA director in January 2013, succeeding William W. Beach after working with him over 15 years, including as research fellow, assistant CDA director and most recently deputy director.
Hederman's recent research and writing have focused on economic mobility, employment, Medicare and taxes.
His previous responsibilities included managing CDA's work on legislative analysis and Social Security. He provided statistical analysis and econometric modeling for key Heritage policy initiatives, among them poverty, income inequality, taxes and welfare.
CDA's team maintains scores of databases to support strategic research; provides confidential reviews of legislation for members of Congress and the White House; and supplies data and analysis for news organizations. Census Bureau, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security, Medicare and Department of Education are only a few of the agencies and programs included in the databases.
Over the years CDA has acquired one of the largest collections of public and private databases in the United States, as well as a variety of peer-reviewed analytical models. Together, these acquisitions allow CDA to produce some of the most sophisticated calculations done anywhere to determine how public policy changes affect not only the economy but individuals and families. One of its best-known publications is the annual Index of Dependence on Government.
Hederman's commentaries have appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, National Affairs, National Review Online and FoxNews.com, among others. He is quoted by major newspapers and wire services and appears regularly on cable news outlets such as Fox, CNN, CNBC and MSNBC.
Hederman, who joined Heritage in 1995, is a graduate of the University of Virginia with bachelor's degrees in history and foreign affairs. He has a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
He and his wife Caryn, an attorney, currently reside in Alexandria, Va. They have three boys.