Robert Shapiro

Expertise: Understanding the Economy, Security, and How Public Policies Affect Them

As the chairman of Sonecon, Robert J. Shapiro's broad background and perspective on economics and politics are respected among senior officials of the U.S. and foreign governments, in the executive suites of businesses, and by media around the world. He has developed and advanced many policies adopted by Presidents Clinton and Obama and by other world leaders, covering tax, regulation, trade, and government spending. He is currently serving as an advisor to Hillary Clinton.

Before founding Sonecon, Dr. Shapiro was the Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs (1997–2001). In that position, he directed economic policy for the Commerce Department and oversaw the nation's major statistical agencies, including the Census Bureau as it planned and conducted the 2000 decennial census. Before that, he was co-founder and Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute, Legislative Director for Senator Daniel P. Moynihan and Associate Editor of U.S. News & World Report. Dr. Shapiro also was the principal economic advisor to Bill Clinton in his 1991-1992 presidential campaign, developing the economic case that inspired political advisor James Carville’s phrase, “It’s the economy stupid.”  Since then, he has advised every Democratic presidential candidate on economic issues, including President Barack Obama. He also has advised many senior members of the Obama and Clinton administrations. Dr. Shapiro also has been a Fellow of Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and an advisor to the International Monetary Fund. He received an A.B. degree from the University of Chicago, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is widely published in scholarly and popular journals, and the author or co-author of three books.

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June 27, 2021

Post-Pandemic, a Strong Expansion Needs Less Personal Saving or More Government Spending

For two generations, economists and other custodians of financial propriety have chastised Americans for not saving enough. Getting the public to pay attention took a pandemic. Facing a real possibility that COVID-19 and the resulting economic havoc might leave them unable to pay their mortgages and feed their families, moderate- and middle-income Americans began saving as much as they could—and are now socking away now perhaps too much to support a healthy expansion for the U.S. economy as a whole.

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October 23, 2020

Continuing Job Losses in Swing States May Seal Trump’s Fate

This article originally appeared in Washington Monthly.

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Expert Information

Sample Reports



Understanding the Economy, Security, and How Public Policies Affect Them


Washington DC


Current Experience

Chairman, Sonecon

Past Experience

  • Under Secretary of Commerce, Economic Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Co-founder and Vice President, Progressive Policy Institute
  • Legislative Director, Senator Daniel P. Moynihan
  • Associate Editor, U.S. News & World Report


  • M.A. and Ph.D., Harvard University
  • M.Sc., London School of Economics and Political Science
  • A.B., University of Chicago