Lawrence F. Katz is the Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics at Harvard University and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on issues in labor economics and the economics of social problems. He is known for his work on the impacts of neighborhood environments on child and adult outcomes, the history of U.S. economic inequality, and the roles of technological change and the pace of educational advance in affecting the wage structure. Professor Katz has been editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics since 1991 and served as the Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Labor. He is the co-Founder and co-Scientific Director of J-PAL North America, established to facilitate the use of randomized field experiments to improve the effectiveness of social policies. Katz has been the President of the Society of Labor Economists and serves on the Panel of Economic Advisers of the Congressional Budget Office and the Boards of the Russell Sage Foundation and MDRC. Katz was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1959 and grew up in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1981 and earned his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 1985.

Research Interests

I am a labor economist whose work spans economic history, social economics, and the economics of education. Much of my research has focused on the development and application of the supply-demand-institutions framework for understanding differences and changes in wage structures. I have focused on illuminating the interplay of skill-biased technological change and increased access to education in the long-run evolution of U.S. wage inequality and educational wage differentials. My other primary research focus has been on the estimation of the causal effects of neighborhood environments on low-income families through my role as the principal investigator of the long-term evaluation of the Moving to Opportunity program, a randomized housing mobility experiment. I am currently working on the historical evolution of career and family choices and outcomes for U.S. college men and women. My past research has explored a wide range of topics including comparative wage inequality trends, the impact of international trade and immigration on the labor market, the growth of the for-profit higher-education sector, unemployment and unemployment insurance, regional labor markets, the evaluation of labor market programs, U.S. gender wage gaps, the reversal of the college gender gap, and the social and economic consequences of the birth control pill.

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Primary Section

Section 54: Economic Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 53: Social and Political Sciences