Linda J. Bilmes

Linda BilmesProfessor Linda J. Bilmes is widely considered one of the leading experts in US budgeting and public finance. She has held several senior positions in government, including Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the US Department of Commerce, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Administration, and US Representative to several high-ranking commissions, including a Treasury Department commission to examine the viability of the Inter-American Investment Corporation. She was recently appointed to the National Parks Centennial Commission. Previously, Bilmes spent eight years with the global management consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group, where she focused on industrial strategy and transition to market-based democracy in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Bilmes is a now a full-time faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she teaches budgeting, applied budgeting, and public finance. She is a faculty affiliate with the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Rappaport Center for Greater Boston. At Harvard, Bilmes runs an innovative program to assist local cities and towns with their financial health, leading teams of graduate student volunteers who work in the communities. She also conducts the Harvard Institute of Politics budgeting workshops for newly-elected Mayors and Members of Congress.

Bilmes has written extensively on financial and budgetary issues, including the cost of the Iraq War, veterans’ health and disability costs, state and local employee pensions, and federal workforce reform. She is the author of “Soldiers Returning From Iraq and Afghanistan: The Long-term Costs of Providing Veterans Medical Care and Disability Benefits” and co-author (with Joseph Stiglitz) of The Economic Costs of The Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years After the Beginning of The Conflict. Her book The People Factor: Strengthening America by Investing in Public Service (co-authored with W. Scott Gould) will be published in June, 2008.

Bilmes is a regular commentator on financial topics. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and the Atlantic Monthly. She is frequently interviewed on TV and radio programs, including the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CNN’s Lou Dobbs Show, ABC’s World News Tonight and NPR’s On Point. She recently featured in Charles Ferguson’s award-winning documentary film about Iraq, “No End In Sight”.

Bilmes has testified at several congressional hearings regarding the costs of the Iraq war, including the US House of Representatives Budget Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

Bilmes holds a BA and MBA from Harvard University.

Bilmes’ personal website is here. Her Harvard directory page is here.