ocial policy experts Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill have been named the 2016 winners of the 2016 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize by the American Academy of Political and Social Science. “Their commitment to creating strong public policy despite political differences and to encouraging civility and scientific partnership,” said AAPSS President Ken Prewitt, “make Belle and Ron most worthy recipients of this award. Senator Moynihan spent a great deal of his career in public service working for evidence-based policies that support child development and strong families; the careers of Sawhill and Haskins are proof of that ideal continuing in public life today.”
Haskins and Sawhill were jointly nominated, making this the first time two awardees have been chosen to receive the prize. Their collaboration began in 2001 when they worked on the effects of welfare reform legislation with a shared goal of creating opportunity for children and families. Their collaboration led to the establishment of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution.
Their lengthy partnership is especially notable given their ostensible political differences. Sawhill served in the Clinton administration in the Office of Management and Budget at the same time that Haskins worked for the Republican majority on the House Ways and Means Committee. Haskin later served as senior adviser for welfare policy in the second administration of President George W. Bush.
“What they’ve done together at the Brookings Institution is remarkable in two ways,” said Jason DeParle, a reporter at The New York Times who has covered welfare and other issues. “First, they’ve kept honest, data-rich analysis at the heart of highly ideological poverty debates, whether in books, briefs, op-eds or congressional testimony. Second, they’ve managed to bridge — even transcend — partisan divides. As other Washington institutions grew more ideologically entrenched, they modeled a partnership that defied labels other than ‘indispensable.’”