The publication of this final report marks the culmination of a comprehensive, two-year research project. Similar to the three state-level case studies that preceded it, this report was produced through a genuinely collective and collaborative effort. The co-editors, and others from the Geoeconomics and Strategy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, express their deepest appreciation to all those who contributed to it.
Particular gratitude goes to our colleagues on the task force who provided strategic guidance throughout the project. Task force members spent countless hours proposing and debating recommendations, reviewing multiple drafts, and shaping the overall direction of the report. They did so graciously, agreeing to compromises on specific recommendations or language in order to reach an overall consensus.
Hundreds of state and local officials, community leaders, and middle-income professionals and workers across Colorado, Nebraska, and Ohio generously donated their time and spoke candidly to the task force’s research team about the struggles associated with attaining or sustaining a middle-class standard of living and about the ways they perceived or measured the economic effects of U.S. foreign policy.
Research partners at the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Nebraska, and The Ohio State University facilitated the interviews and provided data and analysis to put the responses in context. They were also full co-partners in the preparation of the state-level case study reports that heavily informed task force members’ thinking about the key issues and recommendations presented in this final report.
Bruce Stokes prepared a paper and presentation for the task force that compared the findings from the three state-level case studies with national-level polling data and historical trends. His findings significantly informed the scene-setter provided in Chapter 1 of this report.
The project’s main research assistant, Allison Gelman, served as an indispensable member of the research team, tracking down and collating large volumes of data and contributing brilliantly to every facet of the project. She was, in many ways, a twelfth member of the task force. And her successor, Tobin Hansen, very ably helped to get this report over the finish line.
External reviewers, notably Ivo Daalder, Christopher Padilla, and Ganesh Sitaraman, offered critical feedback and pointed out gaps or inconsistencies. And Carnegie’s leadership, particularly William Burns, Thomas Carothers, and Matan Chorev, gave wise counsel and feedback on the research approach and report drafts, as well as provided unwavering support from the project’s inception to its culmination.
Carnegie’s communications department, under the leadership of Laura Lucas Magnuson, and her predecessor, Jen Psaki, provided invaluable support. Lori Merritt dedicated considerable time and effort to ensure the text read well and conformed to Carnegie’s high editorial standards. Jocelyn Soly expertly designed and laid out the report.
The final report would not have been possible without the generous financial support of the Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation, based in Omaha, Nebraska. Deep appreciation again goes to both the Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their support of the Colorado and Nebraska studies that helped inform this report's conclusions.
Although a collective effort, the task force members alone bear responsibility for the report’s contents. Furthermore, the report does not represent each author’s views in all chapters; some authors preferred different language and emphasis in some places.