AEI-Mercatus Panel: Collective Bargaining, Public Pensions and Voters

Jan 25, 2012Jan 26, 2012
AEI, Twelfth Floor 1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 (Two blocks from Farragut North Metro)

Event Speakers

Eileen Norcross

Senior Research Fellow

Scott Beaulier

Academic Dean, College of Business at North Dakota State University

Please join Mercatus Center and the American Enterprise Institute for a dual panel discussions on the policy and politics of public-sector employees in the 2012 elections. 



  • Scott Beaulier, Troy University and Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Andrew G. Biggs, AEI 
  • Karlyn Bowman, AEI 
  • Eileen C. Norcross, Mercatus Center at George Mason University 
  • Henry Olsen, AEI 
  • Ruy Teixeira, Center for American Progress 
  • Sean Trende, 


In states around the country, 2011 was marked by substantial and sometimes acrimonious debate over reforms to public-sector employees' compensation, especially pensions and fringe benefits. States including Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Rhode Island enacted a variety of reforms designed to shore up ailing state finances and reduce future liabilities. In Wisconsin, the debate over reform virtually paralyzed the state government for weeks. And in Ohio, a vote to eliminate public-sector collective bargaining and trim benefits was roundly rejected by voters. What does 2012 hold, both in terms of policy and politics, for the developing relationship between public-sector workers and taxpayers?

What does a proactive reform agenda for 2012 look like? Is a pro-reform platform a winning issue for reformers or their opponents? This event will address these and other questions in two panel discussions: the first looking at the state of public employee pensions and potential future reforms, and the second examining the politics surrounding public employee compensation reform, including who won and lost politically in 2011 and what these state-level skirmishes can tell us about the 2012 elections.

Please RSVP to this event or watch it online if you cannot attend in person (livestream will show up on page the day of the event). 

For more information, please contact Daniel Rothschild at