Signe-Mary McKernan

Research Fellow

Urban Institute

Signe-Mary McKernan is vice president of the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute. She is a wealth and financial well-building expert whose research covers well-being, safety net programs (welfare), labor and poverty, and demography. She coedited the book Asset Building and Low-Income Families, coauthored a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty, and advised the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in setting up its research unit. Before joining the Urban Institute in 1999, she was lead economist on credit issues at the Federal Trade Commission. She has been a visiting and adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Her research has been published in academic journals including the Journal of Public Economics, American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, Demography, and Review of Economics and Statistics. She has testified before Congress and the District of Columbia Council, appeared on NBC4 and Al Jazeera, and been cited in media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, and Time.

She received her PhD in economics from Brown University and a BA in mathematical economics and Scandinavian literature from UC Berkeley.