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Steven Pearlstein

Robinson Professor Steven Pearlstein

Steven Pearlstein, a Pulitzer-prize winning business and economics columnist for the Washington Post, joined the GMU faculty as Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs in the fall of 2011.  At Mason, he has focused on teaching economic principles to non-economic majors and helping to launch the interdisciplinary Politics, Philosophy and Economics concentration for majors in those departments.  He also offers seminars on narrative journalism, politics, and wealth and poverty in the Honors College.

Professor Pearlstein’s route to university teaching has been an unconventional one.  After several years as a reporter for small newspapers in New Hampshire, he moved to Washington to serve as administrative assistant to members of the House and Senate. He was a TV reporter for public television in Boston, senior editor at Inc. magazine, and founding editor and publisher of The Boston Observer, a monthly political magazine. He returned to Washington in 1988 as deputy business editor and, over the next two decades, also served as the Post’s defense industry reporter, economics writer and Canadian correspondent. He became an opinion columnist in 2003, with a wide-ranging interest in business and economic topics of local, national and international interest.

Professor Pearlstein was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2008 for columns the previous year anticipating and explaining the recent financial crisis and global economic downturn. In 2011 he won the Gerald R. Loeb Award for lifetime achievement in business and financial journalism. His work has also been cited by the Society of Business Editors and Writers. He has appeared frequently as a commentator on national television and radio programs. He continues to write a regular column for the Post’s Sunday Business section, along with book reviews.

Professor Pearlstein grew up in Brookline, Mass. and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. in 1973 with a B.A. in American Studies.  He is a former moderator of West Newbury, Mass. and a director of the Washington Tennis and Educational Foundation. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Wendy Gray.  He has two grown children, Laura and Eli.

Click here to view the syllabus for Prof Pearlstein’s course on Money, Markets and Economic Policy and here for the PPE Seminar, Current Issues in Economic Policy. Or click here for the Honors 131 syllabi, and here for the Honors 122 syllabus.

Office Phone: (703) 993-2165


Professor Pearlstein Examines the State of the Irish Economy

In his most recent piece for the Washington Post, Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs Steven Pearlstein discusses recent developments in the Irish economy and its future potential.  Read the whole article here.


Professor Pearlstein Asks “Is Capitalism Moral?”

Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs Steven Pearlstein asks the provocative question “Is Capitalism Mora?” in a piece for the Washington Post.  You can read his answer here.


Professor Pearlstein asks “Can we Save American Capitalism?”

As the superiority of American Capitalism is being question by people everywhere, Steven Pearlstein examines the opinions of thinkers across the political spectrum to find a larger vision for American Capitalism and, in the process, save it from itself.   Read the whole article here.


An Interview with Robinson Professor Steven Pearlstein

This summer, Professor Pearlstein was interviewed by the Mason News Desk about his first year of teaching at Mason. From the interview: “You’re a full-time professor but you still do a demanding column for the Washington Post, a job many would find full-time in itself. How do you manage the time? I’m not a good […]


Professor Pearlstein Gives the Annual Gortner Lecture

On Monday, April 16th, Professor Pearlstein gave the annual Gortner Lecture. This lecture is sponsored by the Department of Public and International Affairs. Every year, PIA honors a professional active in the field of public affairs and asks him or her to share insights with the Mason community. Professor Pearlstein gave a talk on “The […]


How Obamacare Will Save American Healthcare

Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, one of the architects of the Obama health reform plan, spoke on “How Obamacare Will Save American Healthcare,” on Monday, April 16, at 1:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema. The lecture was sponsored by the Department of Public and International Affairs and the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics. Emanuel […]


Professor Pearlstein reviews “Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius” by Sylvia Nasar

Professor Pearlstein reviewed Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius by Sylvia Nasar in the Washington Post. Click here to read the review.


Washington Post Columnist Steven Pearlstein to Become Newest Robinson Professor

The Robinson Professors’ Program is excited to announce that Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner, will be joining Mason’s faculty as Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs to start teaching classes in Fall 2011. Pearlstein will teach classes involving economics, public affairs, and the media, while continuing to write a weekly […]


Newest Robinson Professor Steven Pearlstein Scheduled to Teach First Course this Fall

The newest Robinson Professor, Steven Pearlstein, is scheduled to teach his first course this fall: Government 319:001  Issues in Government and Politics:  Money, Markets and Economic Policy No prerequisite. Applies basic economic concepts to an examination of fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies. Explores the way markets work, the reasons they sometimes fail […]