Tax Policy Center



Kim S. Rueben

Senior Fellow

Understanding and explaining the role of government is increasingly important. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, state and local governments need to reconsider what the business of governing is, and how we raise enough money to provide the services we need to build our future. This will require more transparency and discussion about what taxes buy and how we spend public funds. Policymakers at all levels need to think about these questions and how to cooperate. Our role is to help them make these decisions and explain the interactions between policy choices.


Kim Rueben, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, is an expert on state and local public finance and the economics of education. Her research examines state and local tax policy, fiscal institutions, state and local budgets, issues of education finance, and public-sector labor markets. Rueben directs the State and Local Finance Initiative. Her current projects include work on state budget shortfalls, financing options for California, the fiscal health of cities, and examining higher education tax credits and grants. She serves on a Council of Economic Advisors for the Controller of the State of California and a National Academy of Sciences panel on the economic and fiscal consequences of immigration, and she was on the DC Tax Revision Commission in 2013. In addition to her position at Urban, Rueben is an adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

Before joining Urban, Rueben was a research fellow at the PPIC. She has served as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute and the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley; as a visiting scholar at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank; and as a member of the executive board of the American Education Finance Association.

Rueben received a BS in applied math-economics from Brown University, an MS in economics from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From TaxVox