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Outdoor portrait of Marianne Wanamaker, Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy,

Marianne Wanamaker, associate professor of economics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been appointed executive director of the university’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. She begins July 1 and replaces former executive director Matt Murray, who announced his retirement in March.

Wanamaker, a native of Martin, Tennessee, joined UT’s Haslam College of Business in 2009.

“I am honored to lead the Baker Center through its next phase,” she said. “Since its founding, the center has been a home for excellence in policy research, political debate, and public service. I look forward to working with the Baker Center faculty, staff, and board to build on that history and find new ways to serve the UT campus, the state of Tennessee, and the world.”

Wanamaker recently served for a year on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, first as senior labor economist and then as chief domestic economist. She was responsible for the administration’s economic analysis of labor, education, workforce, immigration, health care, environmental, and tax policy.

“Dr. Wanamaker brings a wealth of expertise, experience, and energy to this role,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “I look forward to working with her as we deepen the university’s commitment to engagement and support for the values to which Senator Howard Baker devoted his life.”

Wanamaker’s research interests include labor economics, education, American economic history, and demography. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Russell Sage Foundation, and other agencies.

She serves as a US member of the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence, an international effort to promote research and cooperation on responsible AI adoption; a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and a research fellow at the Institute for Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany, and at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She is a former member of the federal American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

In addition to her research record, Wanamaker has been the recipient of several college- and university-level teaching awards, including UT’s Alexander Prize in 2019. In 2017, she was named to Poets and Quants’ Top 40 Undergraduate Professors.

She is a 2001 graduate of Vanderbilt University with degrees in mathematics and economics, and earned her master’s and PhD in economics from Northwestern University in 2004 and 2009, respectively.

About the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy
The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy center located on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The center aims to provide policy makers, citizens, scholars, and students with the information and skills necessary to work effectively within our political system and to serve our local, state, national, and global communities.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,