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Panelist Biography

Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Associate Professor, Brown School
Associate Director, Center for Social Development
Washington University in St. Louis

Last Updated: May 0, 2013

Michal Grinstein-Weiss is Associate Professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and is the Associate Director at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. She is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Grinstein-Weiss is a leading researcher and an expert in the asset-building field and is an influential voice in the design of savings policies, both in the United States and internationally. She is currently the leading researcher of the Refund to Savings initiative, the largest savings experiment in the United States to date, and is the principal investigator of the first federal evaluation of the GEAR UP program to investigate the effective strategies of college savings accounts. The Refund to Savings initiative builds on her work on innovative tax refund savings programs such as the $aveNYC program, and it is a collaboration with leading behavioral economist Dan Ariely, Duke University and Intuit, Inc., makers of Turbo Tax. The GEAR UP study, launched by the U.S. Department of Education, investigates the effective strategies of college savings accounts. In addition to her most recent research efforts, Grinstein-Weiss is also the principal Investigator for a 10-year follow-up study of the American Dream Demonstration (ADD), the first large-scale test of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) in the world. She also serves as consultant to the Israeli government on developing innovative universal savings policies and Child Development Accounts (CDAs).

In 2011, Grinstein-Weiss was selected as the winner of the Society for Social Work and Research Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award. Her research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, several leading national research centers, and numerous philanthropic foundations and corporations.

Grinstein-Weiss received her Ph.D. in Social Work at George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, in economics from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.