Scholar Spotlight: Nathan Jensen and Margaret O'Mara

  • Economic Growth & Innovation
  • Jobs & Workers

Amazon announced its plans for HQ2, splitting its second headquarters between New York City and Arlington, Virginia. Dozens of cities offered billions in incentives to the tech giant in an attempt to receive its promise of thousands of jobs and economic growth. This week's spotlight shines on two SSN members who have been following the announcement and sharing their expertise with the media: Nathan Jensen studies tax incentives and economic investment, and Margaret O'Mara follows the historical rise of the high-tech industry. Check out Nathan's OpEd in The Conversation, Margaret's OpEd in The New York Times, and both of their comments in this article in the Seattle Times.

Scholar Spotlight

Professor of Government

Jensen’s research involves the public policy and the study of companies’ investment decisions. His main areas of research include: how state and local government economic development policies affect companies and how political events abroad affect the investments of companies. The first of these areas focuses largely on government “incentive” programs to attract investment, which his work argues are largely inefficient and motivated by political considerations. He is also involved in projects centered on making social science more transparent and credible. Jensen has worked with the World Bank on their World Investment and Political Risk Report as well as with the Missouri Partnership in a survey of investors.

Professor of History

O'Mara writes and teaches about the history of U.S. politics, the growth of the high-tech economy, and the connections between the two. She is the author of Cities of Knowledge (Princeton, 2005), Pivotal Tuesdays (Penn Press, 2015), and is currently working on a history of the modern high-tech revolution and its relationship with the worlds of politics and finance.

O'Mara is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians and a past fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education. She received her MA/PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from Northwestern University. Prior to her academic career, she worked in the Clinton White House and served as a contributing researcher at the Brookings Institution.