The William G. Bowen Book Award

Announcing the 2022 William G. Bowen Book Award Recipient

Headshot of Douglas Arnold
Douglas Arnold, author of Fixing Social Security: The Politics of Reform in a Polarized Age.

Fixing Social Security book cover

Arnold, R. Douglas. Fixing Social Security: The Politics of Reform in a Polarized Age. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2022. 

Arnold proposes solutions for the financial solvency problem for social security benefits by analyzing factors contributing to a shrinking workforce, such as increased life expectancy, women’s choices over fertility, and restrictive immigration policies. Through examining the priorities of leaders, political parties, and interest groups, Arnold presents solutions that address constraints created by retirement age changes and cost of living adjustments. Arnold describes the public reactions of workers in the decades since social security’s enactment in 1935 and outlines the differences in perspectives held by workers and retirees. The book concludes with suggestions for how the average citizen can influence current policies and practices. 

- Annotations by Charissa O. Jefferson, Labor Economics Librarian

About William G. Bowen and the Annual Book Award

William G. Bowen's ties with Princeton and the Industrial Relations Section began in 1955, when he enrolled as a graduate student in economics.  Bowen joined the faculty at Princeton in 1958, upon completion of his Ph.D.  After a decade of teaching and advising, in 1967 Bowen became the second Provost of Princeton University.  He remained Provost until his appointment as the 17th President of Princeton University in 1972, a position he held for 16 years, when he was appointed President of the Mellon Foundation.

William Bowen has spent a life as a scholar and academic administrator, with remarkable achievements in both areas, often at the same time.  His scholarship, which ranges over a wide variety of subjects, is always empirically informed, solidly grounded in common sense, and directly aimed at issues of extraordinary importance for public policy.

In recognition of William Bowen's contribution to the fields of Labor Economics, Industrial Relations, and Human Resources and his long association with the Industrial Relations Section, the Section has established an annual award in his name. This award is presented to the book making the most important contribution toward understanding public policy related to industrial relations and the operation of labor markets.

Nominations from authors or publishers are not solicited nor accepted; this is an independent selection process.