La Follette School Professor Timothy Smeeding is the recipient of the 2022 Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics for his persistence, innovation, and creativity in improving key measures, and for using statistical data to inform policy analysis.
Smeeding, the Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics and the former director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, has worked in income and wealth policy to promote cross-national research on socioeconomic outcomes. In the 1980s, Smeeding worked with the U.S. Census Bureau as a National Science Foundation fellow, writing a report on the effects of in-kind transfer benefits, which are government subsidized goods and services, on poverty. His work prevented the U.S. Census Bureau from losing $40 million in appropriations.
As the founding director of the Luxembourg Income Study from 1983-2006, Smeeding worked with colleagues to develop foundational data sources, analyzing income and poverty over time and across countries. His work set worldwide income definitions for comparability that are used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development today. In 2008, Smeeding was given an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University for his impactful work.
“I am proud to win the Roger Herriot Award because it signals that I have made a meaningful contribution to the economic data infrastructure of the nation and world,” says Smeeding. “Roger Herriot’s approach to research was ‘why not try to do this?’ instead of ’that cannot be done.’ I fully subscribe to that philosophy of research and creativity.”