Robert A Johnson earned degrees in electrical engineering and economics at M.I.T., got a Ph.D. in economics at Princeton, and worked on Capitol Hill, before entering finance. He became a managing director at the hedge fund Soros Fund Management. In 2009, after the onset of the financial crisis, he was named head of a think tank, the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
Prior to working at Soros Fund Management, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund.
Johnson served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin). Before this, he was Senior Economist of the US Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico).
Johnson was an Executive Producer of the Oscar winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, directed by Alex Gibney, and is the former President of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of both the Economic Policy Institute and the Campaign for America’s Future.
He grew up outside Detroit, in Grosse Pointe Park, the son of a doctor.