Edward Berkowitz

Professor of History and Public Policy and Public Administration / Director, Program in History and Public Policy
Faculty: Full-Time
Address: Phillips Hall
801 22nd St. NW
Washington, DC,
Phone: 202-994-8174
Fax: 202-994-6321
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

American history
Social welfare policy
History and public policy
History of social security
Disability policy
Health care finance

Ed Berkowitz, Professor; Director, MA in History and Public Policy: BA (History), Princeton; MA, PhD (History), Northwestern. Professor Berkowitz is Professor of History, and Public Policy and Public Administration. His fields of interest include the history of social welfare policy and in particular Social Security, disability, and health care. He has published ten books, edited two others, and written over eighty articles in these fields. On four occasions, he has also given invited testimony before Congressional committees concerned with these issues. He has served on the senior staff of the Presidentís Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties and on the staff of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He teaches courses in American history and on history and public policy.



Professor of History and Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (2003-present).
--Professor of History, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (1989-2003).
--Director of the Program in History and Public Policy, 1982-2006
--Chair, Department of History, The George Washington University, Washington D.C. (2000-2002) (1993-1997) (Acting Chair, spring and summer, 1998)
--Associate Professor of History (1982-1989).

Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts (1982).

Senior Staff, The President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, The White House (1980-1981).

Assistant Professor of History and John F. Kennedy Fellow, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts (1977-1980).

Policy Analyst, Office of the Secretary, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C. (1975-1976).


Other Experience

Visiting Scholar, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland (2002-2003)

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Faculty Fellow in Health Care Finance, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland (1987-1988).

Visiting Scholar, National Academy of Social Insurance, Washington, D.C. (1988).

Instructor, Department of History, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1976-1977).


Professional Recognition

Journal of Policy History, editorial board member.

Journal of Disability Policy Studies, associate editor and book review editor.

Journal of Gerontology-Social Sciences, editorial board member.

Social Insurance Update, editorial board member.

Journal of Social Science and Disability, editorial board member.

National Academy of Social Insurance, founding member.

Mary Switzer Scholar, 1984.

Twentieth Century Fund, Project Director, 1982-1985.

Hastings Center, Project Participant, Ethical and Policy Issues in Rehabilitation Medicine, 1985-7. Ethical and Policy Issues in Traumatic Brain Injury, 1999-2003.

General Accounting Office, Consultant.

Social Security Disability Foundation, Advisory Committee.

Health Insurance Association of America, Consultant.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Consulting Historian.

Peer reviewer for Journal of American History, Milbank Memorial Quarterly, Journal of Social History, National Endowment for the Humanities, Social Service Review, Journal of Health, Politics and Law, Public Historian, Business History Review, Yale University Press, Rutgers Press, Cambridge University Press (American and Australian branches), Greenwood Press, Penn State Press, Pacific Historical Review, Canadian Historical Papers, University of Wisconsin Press, University Press of Kansas, Cornell University Press, Northern Illinois Press, Johns Hopkins Press, University of Chicago Press, University of California Press, Brookings Institution, Social Science History, Lexington Press, Polity, Columbia University Press, Princeton University Press, Oxford University Press, Studies in American Political Development, North Carolina University Press, Journal of the History of Medicine.

Tenure and promotion referee for Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie-Mellon University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Texas at Dallas, Rutgers University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Virginia, University of Missouri, Ohio University

H-State, Board of Editors.


University Service

Member, Dean’s Council, Columbian College, 2007 to 2010

Member, Search Committee, Dean, Columbian College, 2005-2006, 2001-2002

Member, Faculty Senate, 1998-2000.

Member, Dean’s Council, Elliott School of International Affairs, 1998-2000.

Member, Search Committee, Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs, 1994.

Member, Promotion and Tenure Committee, Columbian School, 1999-2002, 2003-2006

Member, Promotion and Tenure Committee, Elliott School, 2005-2009.

Member, Advisory Committee, George Washington Institute of Public Policy, 2000-present

Member, Advisory Committee, Documentary Center, 2000-present

Member, Executive Committee, Department of History, 2004-2006

Graduate Advisor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, 1991-1992

Chair, Graduate Program Committee, Department of History, 1993

Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee, Department of History, 1998-2000, 2004-2005.

Member, 175th Anniversary Committee and co-author of 175th Anniversary history of George Washington University: From Strength to Strength: A Pictorial History of the George Washington University, 1821-1996 (Washington, D.C.: George Washington University, 1996).


PhD, History, Northwestern University
MA, History, Northwestern University
BA, History, Princeton University



Mass Appeal: The Formative Age of the Movies, Radio, and TV. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Social Security: A Documentary History. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2008. [With Larry DeWitt and Daniel Beland].

Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Robert Ball and the Politics of Social Security. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003. Paperback edition, with incorporated website, 2005

To Improve Human Health: A History of the Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1998.

The Medical Follow-Up Agency, 1946-1996. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1998. [With Mark Santangelo].

Mr. Social Security: The Life of Wilbur J. Cohen. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. Hebrew translation, Herzliya, Israel: Hod-Ami Computer Book Publisher Ltd, 2003.

America's Welfare State: From Roosevelt to Reagan. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1991.

Group Health Association: A Portrait of a Health Maintenance Organization. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988. [with Wendy Wolff].

Disabled Policy: America's Programs for the Handicapped--A Twentieth Century Fund Report. New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Paperback Edition, 1989. (Chapter Six reprinted in Leonard D. Cain, The Emerging Minorities. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt, 1991, pp. 253-287.)

Creating the Welfare State: The Political Economy of Twentieth Century Reform. New York: Praeger Press, 1980. [with Kim McQuaid]. Second Edition, Revised and Expanded. New York: Praeger Press, 1988. [with Kim McQuaid]. Paperback Edition. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1992. [with Kim McQuaid].

Social Security and Medicare: A Policy Primer. Westport, Connecticut: Auburn House, 1993. [with Eric Kingson].

Rehabilitation: The Federal Government's Response to Disability. New York: Arno Press, 1980.

Editor of Social Security After Fifty: Successes and Failures. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1987. Editor of Disability Programs and Government Policies. New York: Praeger Press, 1979.


Congressional Testimony and Government Reports

"A Social Agenda for the Eighties," in President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, A National Agenda for the Eighties. New York: New American Library, 198l. Also published by the Government Printing Office and Prentice Hall.

President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, Government and the Advancement of Social Justice, Health, Welfare, Education and Civil Rights in the Eighties. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1981.

"Emerging Issues in Disability Policy," in Special Committee on Aging, United States Senate, Fifty Years of Social Security: Past Achievements and Future Challenges. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, August 1985.

"Labor Force Participation Among Disabled Persons," in Department of Labor, Commission on Workforce Quality and Labor Market Efficiency, Investing in People: Background Papers. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, September 1989, pp. 1205-1258 [with Monroe Berkowitz].

Testimony Prepared for the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare in consideration of the Americans with Disabilities Act, May 1989, reprinted in Congressional Digest, 68 (December, 1989), pp. 304-312 [with David Dean].

Testimony Prepared for the Subcommittee on Social Security of the Committee on Ways and Means on the long-term solvency of Social Security, September, 1994, in "HR 4245...and Other Bills to Restore the Solvency of Social Security." Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1995, pp. 69-72.

Testimony prepared for the Subcommittee on Social Security of the Committee and Ways and Means on the history of disability programs, July 2000, in “Challenges Facing Social Security Disability Programs in the 21st Century.” Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2001, pp. 32-37.


Articles and Chapters in Books

“Ernest May,” Journal of Policy History, Summer 2010, Volume 22, Number 3, pp. 366-372.

“The Scenic Road to Nowhere: Reflections on the History of National Health Insurance in the United States," The Forum: Vol. 8 (2010): Iss. 1, Article 1. Available at http://www.bepress.com/forum/vol8/iss1/art1

“Extensive but not Inclusive: Health Care and Pensions in the United States,” in Daniel Beland and Brian Gran eds., Public and Private Social Policy in the United States (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), pp. 70-91. With Christopher Howard, Harriman Professor of Politics, William and Mary.

“Social Security from the New Deal to the Great Society: Expanding the Public Domain,” in Brian J. Glenn and Steven M. Teles, eds., Conservatism and American Political Development (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 53-85. With Larry DeWitt, Chief Historian, Social Security Administration

“Medicare and Medicaid: The Past as Prologue,” Health Care Financing Review, Winter 2005-2006, Volume 27, Number 2, pp. 11-23.

“Medicare: The Great Society’s Enduring National Health Insurance Program,” in Sidney Milkis and Jerome Mileur eds., The Great Society and the High Tide of Liberalism (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005) pp. 320-350.

“George Bush and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” in Richard Himmelfarb and Rosanna Perotti eds., Principle Over Politics—The Domestic Policy of the George W. Bush Presidency (Westport: Praeger Press, 2004), pp. 143-155.

“The Great Society,” in Julian Zelizer ed., The American Congress (Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 2004), pp. 566-583.

“The 1970s and the End of the American Century,” in The End of the American Century. Peter Bastian and Jan Pilditch eds. (Sydney, Australia: Fulbright New Zealand and Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association, 2004), pp. 201-229.

“A Historian’s Reaction to the Case of Jeff,” Brain Injury Source 6 (Summer 2003), p. 37.

“Family Benefits: A Historical Commentary,” in Eugene Steurele and Melissa Favreault eds., Social Security and the Family: Addressing Unmet Needs in an Underfunded System (Washington: Urban Institute, 2002), pp. 19-46.

“History Precedes Ethics,” American Journal of Bioethics, Summer 2001, p. 66

“Losing Ground? The Great Society in Historical Perspective,” in David Farber and Beth Bailey eds., The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), pp. 98-108.

“History and Social Security Reform,” in Eric Kingson, Sheila Burke, and Uwe Reinhardt eds., Social Security and Medicare: Individual vs. Collective Risk and Responsibility. (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2000), pp. 31-55.

“Supporting Disability: An Historical Perspective,” American Rehabilitation, Spring-Summer 1999, Volume 25, Number 1, pp. 2-7.

“The Death of Jane Addams,” in Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn eds., Reconstructing History: The Emergence of a New Historical Society. (New York and London: Routledge Press, 1999), pp.226-236. (Revised version of an essay that appeared originally under the same title in The World and I, January 1997, pp 323-335.)

“The President and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” in Kenneth Thompson editor, The Bush Presidency Part Two: Ten Intimate Perspectives of George Bush. (Lanham, Maryland: The Miller Center and the University Press of Virginia, 1998), pp. 131-148.

“Revealing America’s Welfare State,” Reviews in American History, September 1998, pp. 620-624.

“Social Welfare Policies and Values,” in Milton M. Carrow et alia editors, Democracy, Social Values, and Public Policy. (Westport: Praeger, 1998), pp. 131-146.

“Welfare Reform as History,” Reviews in American History, June 1998, pp. 452-456.

“Baltimore’s Public Schools in a Time of Transition,” Maryland Historical Magazine, Winter 1997, pp. 412-432. Reprinted in Jessica Elfenbein, editor, From Mobtown to Charm City: New Perspectives on Baltimore’s Past. (Baltimore: Baltimore Historical Society, 2002), pp.250-272.

“The Transformation of Social Security,” in Steven Sass and Robert K. Triest eds., Social Security Reform. (Boston: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 1998), pp. 19-28.

“Research and Politics in Policymaking for Social Security," Journal of Gerontology Social Sciences, Volume 52B, Number 3 (May, 1997), pp. S115-S116.

"The Historical Development of Social Security in the United States," in Eric Kingson and James Schulz eds., Social Security in the 21st Century. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 22-38.

"The Frontier Thesis," Reviews in American History, December 1996, pp. 701-705.

"The American version of the welfare state," Leidschrift, Volume 11, Number 3, 1996, pp. 83-91.

"Lessons from the Vocational Rehabilitation/Social Security Administration Experience," in Jerry Mashaw et alia eds., Disability, Work, and Cash Benefits. (Kalamazoo: W.E. Upjohn Institute, 1996), pp. 223-244 [with David Dean].

"A United States perspective on disability programs," in Leo J.M. Aarts et alia eds., Curing the Dutch Disease: An International Perspective on Disability Policy Reform. (Alderstot, U.K.: Avebury Press, 1996), pp. 71-91 [with Richard Burkhauser].

“Current Developments in the Welfare State: An International and Historical Perspective," in Hans Baket alia eds., Social and Secure? Politics and Culture of the Welfare State: A Comparative Inquiry. (Amsterdam, Netherlands: VU University Press, 1996), pp. 160-172.

"Social security and the financing of the American state," in W. Elliot Brownlee ed., Funding the American State, 1941-1945. (New York: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 148-193.

"Implications for Income Maintenance Policy," in Jane West ed., Implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act. (New York and London: Blackwell Publishers, 1996), pp. 193-226.

"Social Security or Insecurity?" Reviews in American History, Volume 24, Number 1, March 1996, pp. 126-131.

"Social Welfare," in Stanley Kutler, ed., Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century. (New York: Scribner and Sons, 1996), pp. 271-292.

"A Historical Preface to the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Policy History, Volume 6, Number 1, 1994, pp. 96-119. Also published in Hugh Graham ed., Civil Rights in the United States. (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994).

"Jimmy Carter and the Sunbelt Report: Seeking a National Agenda," in Herbert D. Rosenbaum and Alexej Ugrinsky eds., The Presidency and Domestic Policies of Jimmy Carter. (Westport Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1994), pp. 33-44.

"Intergenerational Equity and Academic Discourse," in Warner Schaie and Andrew Achenbaum eds., Societal Impact on Aging. (New York: Springer Publishing Company), 1993, pp. 151-156.

"Social Security" and "Welfare," both in Leonard Levy ed., An Encyclopedia of the American Presidency. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.)

"Disability Legislation," in Morton Keller et alia eds., The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994).

"Disabled Policy: A Personal Postscript," Journal of Disability Policy Studies, Volume 3, Number 1, 1992, pp. 1-16.

"How to Think About the Welfare State," Labor History, Fall 1991, pp. 489-502.

"Social Security and the American Welfare State," in Joel Mokyr ed., The Vital One: Essays in Honor of Jonathan Hughes (Research in Economic History, Supplement 6). (Greenwich, Ct.: JAI Press, 1991), pp. 169-190 [with Kim McQuaid].

"One Comprehensive System? A Historical Perspective on Federal Disability Policy," Journal of Disability Policy Studies, Fall 1990, pp. 1-19 [with Richard Scotch].

"Commissioning the Future," in David Mock ed., History and Public Policy. (Malabar, Florida: Krieger, 1991), pp. 7-21.

"The Origins and Consequences of Medicare," in Jonathan D. Moreno, ed., Paying the Doctor: Health Policy and Physician Reimbursement. (New York: Auburn House, 1991), pp. 143-156. [with Wendy Wolff].

"Labor Force Participation Among Disabled Persons," Research in Labor Economics, 11 (1990), pp. 181-200 [with Monroe Berkowitz].

"Rehabilitation in the Work Injury Program," Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 34 (March 1991), pp. 182-196 [with Monroe Berkowitz].

"The Social Welfare History State," Reviews in American History, March 1990, pp. 89-94.

"Wilbur Cohen and American Social Reform," Social Work, July 1989, pp. 293-299.

"Domestic Politics and International Expertise in the History of American Disability Policy," Milbank Memorial Quarterly, 67, Supplement 2, Part 1, 1989, pp. 195-227.

"Allocating Resources for Rehabilitation: A Historical and Ethical Framework," Social Science Quarterly, March, 1989, pp. 40-52.

"Incentives for Reducing the Costs of Disability," in Jack Meyer and Ken McLennan eds. Care and Cost: Current Issues in Health Policy. (Boulder Colorado: Westview Press, 1989), pp. 203-226 [with Monroe Berkowitz].

"The Struggle for Compromise: Social Security Disability Insurance, 1935-1986," Journal of Policy History, Volume 1, Issue 3, 1989, pp. 233-260 [with Daniel Fox]. Reprinted in Mock, ed. History and Public Policy, pp. 121-147.

"Social Security as History," Social Insurance Update (a publication of the National Academy of Social Insurance), April 1989.

"Public History, Academic History, and Policy Analysis: A Case Study with Commentary," The Public Historian, Fall, 1988, pp. 43-63.

"Social Insurance for the Disabled and Elderly in Historical Perspective," Educational Gerontology 14 (1988), pp. 411-418.

"Social Welfare and the American State," in Donald T. Critchlow and Ellis W. Hawley eds. Federal Social Policy: The Historical Dimension. (State College, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988), pp. 171-200.

“Historical Aspects of Disability," Disability Studies Quarterly, Summer 1988, pp. 41-43.

"The Cost Benefit Tradition in Vocational Rehabilitation," in Monroe Berkowitz ed. Measuring the Efficiency of Public Programs. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988), pp. 10-28.

"Disability Insurance and the Social Security Tradition," in Gerald D. Nash, Noel H. Pugach, and Richard F. Tomasson eds. Social Security: The First Half Century. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988), pp. 279-298.

"A Historical Perspective on the Aging and Adult Disability Movement," Aging Network News, October 1987, p. 8.

"Rehabilitation's Past: History as a Factor in the Future," in Elizabeth Minton, ed. If: The Future of VR. (Charleston, West Virginia: West Virginia Research and Training Center, 1986) pp. 9-18.

"History and Public Policy," in Barbara Howe ed. Public History. (Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company, 1986), pp. 414-426.

"John Bertram Andrews," pp. 32-34, "Elizabeth Brandeis Raushenbush," pp. 607-609, and "Mary Elizabeth Switzer," pp. 702-704, all in Walter I. Trattner ed. Biographical Dictionary of Social Welfare in America. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1986.)

"Disability Insurance and the Limits of American History," The Public Historian, Spring 1986, pp. 65-82. [with Wendy Wolff].

"Challenges to Workers' Compensation: An Historical Analysis," in John D. Worrall and David Appel eds. Workers' Compensation Benefits: Adequacy, Equity, and Efficiency. (Ithaca, New York: ILR Press, 1985), pp. 158-180. [with Monroe Berkowitz].

"Social Influences on Rehabilitation," in Leonard G. Perlman and Gary F. Austin eds. Social Influences in Rehabilitation Planning: Blueprint for the 21st Century. (Alexandria, Virginia: National Rehabilitation Association, 1985), pp. 11-26.

"Widening the Field," American Behavioralist, February, 1985, pp. 60-72. [with Monroe Berkowitz].

"Professionals as Providers: Some Thoughts on Disability and Ideology," Rehabilitation Psychology, Winter 1984, pp. 211-216.

"Changing the Meaning of Welfare Reform," in John Weicher ed. Maintaining the Safety Net: Income Redistribution Programs in the Reagan Administration. (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1984), pp. 23-42.

"Politics as Process," Reviews in American History, December, 1984, pp. 595-599.

"History, Public Policy and Reality," Journal of Social History, Fall, 1984, pp. 79-89.

"The Survival of Workers' Compensation," Social Service Review, June, 1984, pp. 259-280. [with Monroe Berkowitz].

"Benefit Cost Analysis," Rehabilitation Research Review, 1983. [with Monroe Berkowitz].

"Rehabilitation: An Historical Perspective," in Diane E. Woods, ed. The Clinical Model in Rehabilitation and Alternatives. (New York: World Rehabilitation Fund, 1983.)

"The First Social Security Crisis," Prologue, Fall, 1983, pp. 132-149. Revised and reprinted in Berkowitz ed., Social Security After Fifty, pp. 55-78.

"Commissioning the Future, Getting the Present," Reviews in American History, June, 1983, pp. 294-299.

"Letter from Washington," Institute News, March 1983, pp. 5-6.

"History and Public Policy: A View from the Middle," AHA Perspectives, December, 1982, pp. 17-20.

"Finding Work: Some Trends, Predictions and Laments for the 1980's," in Katy B. Greenwood ed. Contemporary Challenges for Vocational Education. (Arlington, Va: American Vocational Association, 1981), pp. 15-22.

"Unemployment Loopholes: The Lessons of History Haunt the Teacher," op-ed article, Boston Globe, December 19, 198l.

"The Federal Government and the Emergence of Rehabilitation Medicine," The Historian, Summer 198l, pp. 530-545.

"Growth of the U.S. Social Welfare System in the Post-World War II Era: The UMW, Rehabilitation, and the Federal Government," in Paul Uselding ed. Research in Economic History. (Greenwich, Conn: JAI Press, 1980), pp. 233-247.

"Bureaucrats as Social Engineers: Federal Welfare Programs in Herbert Hoover's America,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, October 1980, pp. 321-335. [with Kim McQuaid]. Reprinted in Donald Critchlow and Ellis Hawley, eds., Poverty and Public Policy in Modern America. (Chicago: Dorsey Press, 1988.)

"The Politics of Mental Retardation in the Kennedy Administration,” Social Science Quarterly, June 1980, pp. 128-142.

"Welfare Reform in the 1950's," Social Service Review, March 1980, pp. 45-58. [with Kim McQuaid]. Reprinted in Critchlow and Hawley eds., Poverty and Public Policy in Modern America.

"Strachan and the Limits of the Federal Government,” International Review of History and Political Science, February 1980, pp. 65-81.

"Mary Switzer: The Entrepreneur Within the Welfare State," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Jan. 1980, pp. 79-81.

"The American Disability System in Historical Perspective," in Berkowitz ed., Disability Programs and Government Policies.

"Lessons of the Past: Social Policy of the Sixties," The Public Historian, Summer 1979, pp. 67-71.

"The Historian as Policy Analyst: The Challenge of HEW," The Public Historian, Spring 1979, pp. 17-25.

"Businessman and Bureaucrat: The Evolution of the American Social Welfare System, 1900-1940," Journal of Economic History, March l978, pp. l20-l42. [with Kim McQuaid].