Lawrence Mead is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute where he studies American social welfare programs. He is also a professor of politics and public policy at New York University.

Known as one of the theoretical architects of welfare reform in the 1990s, Dr. Mead has written several influential books in which he demonstrates that mandatory work requirements are essential to sound welfare policy. In his last book, “Expanding Work Programs for Poor Men” (AEI Press, 2011), he explains that poor fathers, like welfare mothers, not only need better benefits but also must be expected and required to work regularly.

His other books include “From Prophecy to Charity: How to Help the Poor” (AEI Press, 2011), “Welfare Reform and Political Theory” (Russell Sage Foundation, 2005), “Beyond Entitlement: The Social Obligations of Citizenship” (The Free Press, 2001), “The New Paternalism: Supervisory Approaches to Poverty” (Brookings, 1997), and “The New Politics of Poverty: The Nonworking Poor in America” (Basic Books, 1992). He is currently working on a book about American power.

Lawrence Mead has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University and a B.A. in political science from Amherst College.


  • Professor of Politics, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, New York University, 1979–present
  • John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs & Co. Visiting Professor, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, 1994–95
  • Visiting Professor of Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1993–94
  • Deputy Director of Research, Republican National Committee, 1978–79
  • Research Associate, Urban Institute, 1975–78
  • Speechwriter to Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, US Department of State, 1974–75
  • Policy Analyst, US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1973–75


Ph.D., M.A., political science, Harvard University

B.A., political science, Amherst College