past event
Family Finances

2016 Economic Security Summit: Reconnecting Work & Wealth


How can we restore the link between work and wealth so that all American families can achieve real economic security?

Many Americans have economic challenges including fluctuating wages, disappearing pensions, unaffordable housing, and rising health care and education costs. Traditional pathways to financial stability, such as education, homeownership, good jobs, and retirement savings, are threatened by student debt, foreclosures, and dramatic changes in the way we work. We see the result of this financial insecurity in the volatile — and, at times, ugly — politics of this election year.


How can we create conditions for a new social contract, where knowledge, hard work, savings, and investment still lead to economic security?
What will it take to build an economy with shared prosperity?

With the support of Prudential and the Ford Foundation, the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program and Economic Opportunities Program convened the 2016 Economic Security Summit: Reconnecting Work and Wealth. The Summit brought together forty of the nation’s top thinkers to grapple with the cross-cutting issues of equity, inclusion, mobility, growth, and opportunity.

The cross-sector dialogues at the Summit engaged dynamic thought leaders in industry, academia, government, policy, advocacy, journalism, and philanthropy. Participants included Thomas Perez, US Secretary of Labor; Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors; Jacob Hacker of Yale University; Heather McGhee of Demos; and J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy. Click here for a complete list of attendees.

Participants grappled with the trends, proposed bold ideas, and specified the products, policies, and strategies that can advance those ideas. They asked:

  • Can we restore traditional paths to the middle class, or must we develop new routes to economic mobility and financial security?
  • How must innovations in financial markets intersect with policy reforms to improve the well-being of vulnerable American families?
  • Are American values shifting with changes in our culture, economy, demography, technology, and politics, and should this recalibrate our solutions?
  • What are the fundamental elements of a new 21st century social compact?
  • On the eve of the 2016 elections, what policies should the next administration and Congress enact to improve economic opportunity and family financial security?

We invite you to watch a recording of the opening panel, Economic Insecurity, American Values and the Politics of Resentment, streamed live from Aspen, Colorado.

Additionally, you can engage with content that emerges from the Summit – including editorials, video interviews, and reports – by following FSP and EOP on Twitter (@Aspen_FSP, @AspenWorkforce, @AspenMicro, #ESS2016).

US Economy
Reconnecting Work and Wealth: A Report from the 2016 Aspen Institute Economic Security Summit
June 1, 2017 • Anne Kim, & 2 more

Reconnecting Work and Wealth is a joint set of work led by the Financial Security Program and Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute. Income and assets are both essential building blocks of household economic security and opportunity, and are intertwined in the economic lives of households. Together the programs are exploring how critical changes in recent decades are reshaping both labor and financial markets and leaving working families more vulnerable. Through publications, public convenings, and intensive dialogues with leaders in industry, academia, philanthropy, government, and nonprofit organizations, the Aspen Institute is advancing the conversation on how to ensure that hard work can lead to economic stability and mobility in today’s economy. To learn more, visit

Event information
Tue Oct 18, 2016 - Thu Oct 20, 2016
Aspen, Colorado