John Irons

Former Managing Director

John Irons joined The Rockefeller Foundation in 2012. As Managing Director, Global Markets, he led much of the Foundation’s work in the United States, particularly initiatives on employment, and contributed more broadly to economic analysis of the Foundation’s work. His focus included leading the Foundation’s emerging work on Youth Employment in the US, the Sustainable Employment in a Green US Economy (SEGUE) Initiative, the Brookings–Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation, and other projects that focus on economic issues.

Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Irons was the Research Director at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was the Director of Tax and Budget Policy at The Center for American Progress, and a Senior Economic Analyst and Staff Economist at OMB Watch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting government accountability and citizen participation. Prior to coming to Washington, Dr. Irons was a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Economics at Amherst College. He has also worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and briefly at the Brookings Institution.

Dr. Irons has authored numerous reports and articles on a range of economic topics including tax and budget policy, labor markets, and macroeconomic policy. His articles have appeared in several journals including the Journal of Monetary Economics, the Journal of Applied Econometrics, and the Review of Financial Economics. Dr. Irons is co‐editor of Testing Exogeneity, published by Oxford University Press. He has been quoted in numerous national and local print publications and has appeared on TV and radio programs, including CNN, CNBC, BBC, and Bloomberg. He has been a guest lecturer and has presented research at many colleges and universities including American University, Harvard University, Middlebury College, MIT, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, and others.

Dr. Irons was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, as well as a Graduate Fellowship from the Harvard/MIT Research Training Group in Positive Political Economy. He has won several awards for his economics websites, including top‐5 awards from The Economist and Forbes.

He has served on the Committee on Electronic Publishing of the American Economic Association, and has served on the board of nonprofit institutions, including the Coalition on Human Needs, and was elected to the Board of Governors of the National Economists’ Club in Washington D.C.

Dr. Irons holds a B.A. with High Honors in economics from Swarthmore College, and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Authored Content

  • Aug 28 2015
    Blog Post Creative Destruction and the New World of Work A version of this post originally appeared on Pacific Standard’s The Future of Work series, supported by The Rockefeller Foundation. Nearly 75 years ago, Joseph Schumpeter popularized the term “creative destruction” to describe how businesses evolve over time: Enterprises with new or improved products, cheaper processes, and modern practices displace companies using older technologies and […] Alyson Wise, John Irons
  • Aug 13 2015
    Blog Post Industry Leaders Are Taking Action On Youth Unemployment KEY TAKEAWAYS SHARE THIS Today, there are nearly 6 million youth struggling to connect to the labor market. SHARE THIS “Impact hiring” draws on innovations in technology, data, and people analytics to help companies more successfully recruit and hire disadvantaged youth. SHARE THIS A coalition of 29 corporate employers has committed to provide jobs, internships, […] John Irons
  • Aug 05 2015
    Blog Post To Reduce Inequality Among Neighborhoods, Make Inclusion the Central Goal Over the last month, the Urban Institute has highlighted the divides between conditions in the top and bottom neighborhoods of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The gap between incomes, education levels, homeownership, and home values in the most privileged and the most disadvantaged neighborhoods is high—and it has grown substantially higher in most cities. This […] John Irons, Rolf Pendall
  • May 18 2015
    Blog Post The Challenge and Opportunity of Online Work Amazon recently announced—and for the first time—the earnings of its cloud storage and computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS). The report from the company pegged AWS revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 at $1.6 billion, contributing $256 million to the company’s bottom line. The service, which drives the back-end technology of companies including Netflix, […] John Irons
  • Apr 03 2015
    Blog Post A New Program Helps Businesses Engage the Next Generation of Talent Last week, The Rockefeller Foundation was pleased to co-host an event with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to announce the 2015 Business Ambassadors for The Next Generation of Talent. The Foundation and SBS, in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit, brought together leaders from a group of eight small businesses […] John Irons