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Epstein, Abraham


EPSTEIN, ABRAHAM (1892–1942), U.S. economist and sociologist. Born in Russia, Epstein immigrated to the United States in 1910. He specialized in the problems of the aged and their economic maintenance, and became a leading advocate of publicly financed old age pensions. Through publications, research, legislative drafting, and political activity, Epstein was instrumental in preparing the ground for the 1935 Social Security Act, but remained critical of the principles adopted by the federal legislation and their implementation. In 1939, the federal government incorporated many of Epstein's recommendations through major amendments. In 1927 Epstein organized the American Association for Old Age Security which in 1933 became the American Association for Social Security. From 1934 to 1937 Epstein served as United States representative on the social insurance committee of the League of Nations' International Labor Office, and as a consultant for the Social Security Board. He also taught at Brooklyn College and New York University. Epstein's major publications include The Negro Migrant in Pittsburgh (1918), The Problem of Old Age Pensions in Industry (1926), Facing Old Age (1922), The Challenge of the Aged (1928), and Insecurity, a Challenge to America (1938).

[Roy Lubove]

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