Harvard Professors Robert Barro, Rachel McCleary to Join Heritage

Harvard Professors Robert Barro, Rachel McCleary to Join Heritage

Sep 17, 2023 3 min read

WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation announced today that Harvard University professors Robert Barro, Ph.D., and Rachel McCleary, Ph.D., will join the organization in September.

Barro will serve as a distinguished fellow in economic thought and McCleary will be a senior visiting fellow in religion and political economy for the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.

Both will continue their research in the fields of economics and culture. In addition, they will advise the Center for Data Analysis, contribute to policy research work, especially in the areas of debt, inflation, and economic growth, and mentor upcoming economists and policy researchers.

“Heritage’s reputation rests on the foundation of quality policy research and the deep knowledge of our scholars,” said Derrick Morgan, Heritage’s executive vice president. “Dr. Robert Barro and Dr. Rachel McCleary are two very highly respected experts who have a proven track record of academic scholarship. At a time when faith, freedom, and human flourishing are increasingly under attack, Barro and McCleary’s work will bolster our efforts to equip the next generation of scholars and thinkers, and we are eager to showcase their work.”

Barro’s research will focus on spending and federal debt, religion and free markets, and entrepreneurship. He will also mentor young economists and policy scholars. In conjunction with Barro and McCleary’s appointments, Heritage is launching a post-doctoral program in political economy, focusing on original research with better use of data to analyze policy questions. (For more information on this program, contact Diana Furchtgott-Roth at The Heritage Foundation.)

Barro and McCleary will lead a new Seminar Series in Religion and Political Economy, to begin in September, where scholars can present and discuss research. (See schedule below.)

Barro serves as the Paul M. Warburg professor of economics at Harvard and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

His extensive writing on macroeconomics and economic growth has been published in various papers, journals, and books, including Business Week and The Wall Street Journal. He is co-editor of Harvard’s Quarterly Journal of Economics and was president of the Western Economic Association and vice president of the American Economic Association.

Barro is the author of 17 books, including “Economic Growth” (2nd edition, with Xavier Sala-i-Martin) and “Nothing Is Sacred: Economic Ideas for the New Millennium.” He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Caltech.

“With great enthusiasm, I am excited to embark on this new chapter at The Heritage Foundation,” Barro said. “My decision to join this esteemed institution was driven by intellectual curiosity, innovation, and the opportunity to collaborate with a talented team of Heritage economists and policy experts. I look forward to contributing new research, mentoring young scholars, and enriching our understanding of the changing economic landscape in America.”

In her role, McCleary will research the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and economics. She will focus on the influence of religious beliefs and practices on human productivity, economic growth, and political institutions.

McCleary is the author of six books, including “The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion” and “Global Compassion.” She has written numerous journal articles and has contributed to various books and publications.

Currently, McCleary is a lecturer for the economics department at Harvard. She is an associate researcher for the Popol Vuh Museum of the Universidad Francisco Marroquí in Guatemala City and is an editorial board member for the Journal of Religion and Demography (JRAD).

McCleary holds a Ph.D. in moral philosophy from the University of Chicago and a master of theological studies from Emory University. She received her bachelor’s from Indiana University.

“Working with the dedicated policy team at Heritage is a tremendous chance to promote policies that empower individuals and uphold the values crucial to our society,” McCleary said. “This is a continuation of my lifelong journey to explore the connections between faith, economics, and human flourishing.”

Barro and McCleary are coauthors of “The Wealth of Religions: The Political Economy of Believing and Belonging,” which examines how religious beliefs and practices can influence the wealth of nations.

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