Robert Lerman, Ph.D., American University; Urban Institute
Economists generally emphasize the critical role of investment in strengthening the economy of families and national economies. They rightly point to national investments in education, training, research, and physical capital as requiring sacrifices today for significant economic returns in the future. Families are encouraged to save for their retirement, a down payment on a home, their children’s education, and financial shocks like unemployment. However, one critical investment–building healthy marriages and families–is often overlooked in major policy discussions as a potential contributor to increasing economic growth and limiting economic inequality. Fortunately, a growing body of data and research is documenting the importance of marriage to strong economies and to the economic well-being of families. In this session, Dr. Lerman describes relevant research findings and discusses their implications for individuals and government policies.