Steven Pearlstein

Robinson Professor
Steven Pearlstein

Steven Pearlstein, a Pulitzer-prize winning business and former economics columnist for the Washington Post, joined the Mason faculty as Robinson Professor of Public Affairs in the fall of 2011. At Schar School of Policy and Government he has focused on teaching economic principles to non-economic majors. he also helped to launch the interdisciplinary Politics, Philosophy and Economics concentration, where he teaches a capstone course in economic policy. He is also on the faculty of the Honors College, where he offers seminars on narrative journalism, American politics and wealth & poverty. Prof. Pearlstein spearheaded the effort to fund an annual lecture at Mason to honor a former Robinson colleague, civil rights leader Roger Wilkins.

Professor Pearlstein’s route to university teaching has been unconventional. His early career in journalism involved working at two small newspapers in New Hampshire, a TV station in Boston and the business magazine, Inc. as well as launching a monthly magazine, the Boston Observer, where he served as editor and publisher. He also spent several years working on Capitol Hill as a top aide to members of the House and Senate. 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, writing his final column in 2021.

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 is the author of Moral Capitalism, Why Fairness Won’t Make Us Poor, published by St. Martin’s Press.

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 and four grandchildren.

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
Office Hours:  MW 3-4:15 and T 1:30-3