Rudolph Penner is an Institute fellow in the Executive Office at the Urban Institute. Before joining Urban, he was director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1983 to 1987. From 1977 to 1983, he was a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His previous posts in government also include as assistant director for economic policy at the Office of Management and Budget, deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and senior staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisors. Before 1975, he was a professor of economics at the University of Rochester.
Penner was elected president of the American Tax Policy Institute in 2005 and is past president of the National Economists Club. In 1989, he received the Abramson Prize for the best article published in 1988–89 in Business Economics and received a prize for the best article published in 2002 in Public Budgeting and Finance. In 2004, he chaired the Commission on Metro Financing for the Washington Metropolitan Area Council of Governments and others, and in 2009–2010 cochaired the Committee on the Fiscal Future for the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Public Administration.
Penner received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and his PhD in economics from the Johns Hopkins University.