David Scott Johnson

Research Professor, SRC-PSID
Research Professor, Ford School Of Public Policy
David Scott Johnson


David Johnson received a BS in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound and his PhD in Economics from the University of Minnesota. He serves as Director of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and a Research Professor in the Survey Research Center, both at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR). He is also a Professor at the University's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and serves on the Washington Center for Equitable Growth's Research Advisory Board. Before coming to the University of Michigan, Johnson served in the Federal Statistical System for 25 years, and has been the only senior executive to serve at all three major economic statistical agencies.

Dr. Johnson's research interests include the measurement of inequality and mobility, the effects of tax rebates, equivalence scale estimation, poverty measurement, and price indexes. His work with PSID shows the importance of income, consumption, and wealth in the measurement of inequality and mobility. He also works with the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to help them understand how economic activity and growth are distributed in the United States. During his tenure at the U.S. Census Bureau, Dr. Johnson led the development of the new supplemental poverty measure and the effort to reengineer the Survey of Income and Program Participation. During this time, he was also the only government employee to be a Russell Sage Visiting Scholar.

Johnson has twice received the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service from the Department of Commerce. In 2018, Dr. Johnson was the President of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.