Barry Bluestone

Barry Bluestone, Director

Barry Bluestone is the Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy, the founding Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, and the founding Dean of the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Before assuming these posts, Bluestone spent 12 years at the University of Massachusetts at Boston as the Frank L. Boyden Professor of Political Economy and as a Senior Fellow at the University’s John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs. He was the Founding Director of UMass Boston’s Ph.D. Program in Public Policy. Before coming to UMass in the Fall of 1986, he taught economics at Boston College for 15 years and was Director of the University’s Social Welfare Research Institute. Professor Bluestone was raised in Detroit, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan where he received his Ph.D. in economics in 1974.

At the Dukakis Center, Bluestone has led research projects on housing, local economic development, state and local public finance, and the manufacturing sector in Massachusetts. At the School of Social Science, Urban Affairs, and Public Policy, he has co-chaired the Open Classroom series, a graduate seminar on critical social issues open free to the public each semester. He has also been part of the school team developing a new Masters Program in Urban and Regional Policy.

As a political economist, Bluestone has written widely in the areas of income distribution, business and industrial policy, labor-management relations, higher education finance, and urban and regional economic development. He contributes regularly to academic, as well as popular journals, and is the author of ten books. In 1982, he published The Deindustrialization of America (co-authored with the late Bennett Harrison) which analyzed the restructuring of American industry and its economic and social impact on workers and communities. A sequel published in 1988, The Great U-Turn: Corporate Restructuring and the Polarizing of America, also co-authored with Harrison, investigated how economic policies have contributed to growing inequality. In earlier books, Bluestone investigated the low-wage labor market, the aircraft industry, and the revolution in the retail trade sector. In 1992, Negotiating the Future: A Labor Perspective on American Business was published. Co-authored with his father, Irving Bluestone, the book traces the history of labor-management relations since World War II and offers the concept of the “Enterprise Compact” as an approach to industrial relations which can boost productivity, improve product quality and innovation, and enhance employment security. Korean, Spanish, and Japanese editions of this book have been published.

In 2000, Bluestone published two new books. The first of these, co-authored again with Harrison and titled Growing Prosperity: The Battle for Growth with Equity in the 21st Century, investigates the prospects for faster economic growth in the U.S. It was published by Houghton Mifflin and the Twentieth Century Fund. The second, The Boston Renaissance: Race, Space, and Economic Change in an American Metropolis, co-authored with Mary Huff Stevenson and published by the Russell Sage Foundation, was the culmination of nearly five years of research on the new Boston economy. It recounts the industrial and demographic revolution in post-World War II Boston and its impact on racial and ethnic attitudes, residential segregation, and the labor market success of whites, blacks, and Latinos.

Bluestone’s latest work published in 2008 and co-authored with Mary Huff Stevenson and Russell Williams is a major new textbook entitled The Urban Experience: Economics, Society, and Public Policy. This textbook, rich in theory and applied policy, was written for an interdisciplinary audience and can be used at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

As part of his work, Bluestone spends a considerable amount of time consulting with trade unions, with industry groups, and with various federal and state government agencies. He was Executive Adviser to the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Mature Industries in Massachusetts and has worked with the economic development departments of various states. He has testified before Congressional committees and lectures regularly before university, labor, community, and business groups. He appears frequently on local and national radio. As a founding member of the Nommos Consulting Group and working with Streamline Communications, he has been involved in the development of multimedia productions and CD-ROMs used in training sessions for labor/management groups and for public school teachers. Bluestone is also a founding member of the Economic Policy Institute, along with Robert Reich, Lester Thurow, Robert Kuttner, Ray Marshall, and Jeff Faux. In 2006, he served on the transition team for Governor Deval Patrick.

He currently serves as Chair of the Staying Power Task Force, a task force developed to promote manufacturing in Massachusetts, is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Boston Civic Engagement Summit, and co-chairs the Municipal Leadership Academy, a joint program of the School and the Massachusetts Municipal Association. He is also a member of the Community Affairs Research Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and serves on the Executive Board of the Boston chapter of the American Jewish Committee. He is a past board member of the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT).

In his spare time, when he was younger, he used to compete in team triathlons as a bicycle racer — fortunately with a team otherwise comprised of orthopedic surgeons and an internist. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife Mary Ellen Colten and their teenage son Joshua.

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