MacArthur Fellows Program

Joel Rogers

Political Scientist | Class of 1995

Political Scientist
Madison, Wisconsin
43 at time of award
Area of Focus
Political Science
Published July 1, 1995

About Joel's Work

Joel Rogers is a political scientist with a special interest in worker training and economic renewal.

Rogers is a researcher and writer on subjects ranging from macroeconomics to labor history to the future of democracy.  He created the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, which has brought together labor and management from forty of Wisconsin’s largest manufacturers to put in place a new, nationally acclaimed model for worker-skill development.  Rogers founded and directs the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, a research and technical-assistance center for “high-wage, low-waste” regional industrial upgrading.  In a project called “Sustainable Milwaukee,” he involved business leaders, labor leaders, and community organizers in discussions about worker training and other methods to attract industry to the community.


Rogers is a professor of law, of political science, and of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He is the author or co-author of several books, including Works Councils (1985), Associations and Democracy (1985), Working Capital: Using the Power of Labor’s Pensions (2001), and America’s Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters (2000).  He is a contributing editor to The Nation and the Boston Review.

Rogers received a B.A. (1972) from Yale College, a J.D. (1976) from the Yale University Law School, and an M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1984) from Princeton University.

Recent News

Joel Rogers is the Sewell-Bascom Professor of Law, Political Science, Public Affairs, and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a contributing editor at The Nation and Boston Review. He also directs COWS, the “high road” think/action tank. Rogers has written widely on American politics and public policy. His recent publications include What Workers Want (rev. ed., 2006), American Society: How It Really Works (2010; 2nd ed., 2015), and Cities at Work: Progressive Local Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class (2014). He has also advised many governments, candidates, and movement leaders and helped found and operate several progressive NGOs, including the Center for a New Democracy, New Party, Economic Analysis Research Network, Apollo Alliance, Emerald Cities Collaborative, and State Innovation Exchange. Newsweek identified him as one of the 100 living Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the twenty-first century.

Updated July 2015

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