David Autor

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David H. Autor
Bornc. 1967 (age 51–52)
InstitutionMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Alma materHarvard University
Tufts University
Lawrence F. Katz[1]
AwardsEconometric Society (2014)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2012)
Society of Labor Economists (2009)
Sherwin Rosen Prize (2008)
Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (2003)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

David H. Autor (born c. 1967) is an American economist and professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he also acts as co-director of the School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative.[2] Although Autor has contributed to a variety of fields in economics his research generally focuses on topics from labor economics.


David Autor received a B.A. in psychology from Tufts University in 1989, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University) in 1994 and 1999.[2]

Academic career[edit]

After completing his Ph.D. David Autor was hired as assistant professor at MIT's economics department, where he became the Pentti J.K. Kouri Career Development Assistant Professor of Economics in 2002 before being promoted to associate professor in 2003 and receiving tenure in 2005. He finally was made full professor at MIT in 2008. In parallel to his position at MIT Autor is or has been affiliated with several research institutions, including the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Poverty Action Lab and IZA, is or has been the editor of economic academic journals such as the Journal of Economic Perspectives (2009–14), Journal of Labor Economics (2007–08), Journal of Economic Literature (2004–06) and the Review of Economics and Statistics (2002-2008). Finally, he is (together with Joshua Angrist and Parag Pathak) a co-director of the MIT School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative (SEII), a research program focusing on the economics of education and the relationship between human capital and the American income distribution, as well as an associate director of the NBER Disability Research Center.[2]


David Autor's research can be broadly categorized into five strands: (1) Inequality, technological change, and globalization; (2) disability and labor force participation; (3) labor market intermediation; (4) neighborhoods, housing market spillovers, and price controls; and (5) labor market impacts of wrongful discharge protections.[3] The economics bibliographic database IDEAS/RePEc ranks him among the top 5% of economists under a number of criteria, including average rank score, number of works and number of citations.[4] His most cited article, co-authored with Alan B. Krueger and Lawrence F. Katz, studies the effect of skill-biased technological change in the form of computerization on the diverging U.S. education wage differentials and finds evidence suggesting that computerization has increased skill-based wage premia in the U.S. by requiring rapid skill upgrading, which in turn has increased the labor demand for college graduates relative to workers without tertiary education as well as the wage premium associated with a college degree.[5] In an influential 2013 study co-authored with David Dorn and Gordon H. Hanson, Autor showed that U.S. exposure to Chinese trade competition "caused higher unemployment, lower labor force participation, and reduced wages in local labor markets that house import-competing manufacturing industries".[6] The study nonetheless finds that trade a is a net gain for the population as a whole,[6] and Autor has been an advocate for the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a means to protect U.S. workers.[7]


  1. ^ Essays on the Changing Labor Market: Computerization, Inequality, and the Development of the Contingent Work Force: Dissertation Summary Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Curriculum Vitae of David Autor
  3. ^ Classification of Autor's research on his MIT webpage
  4. ^ IDEAS profile of David Autor
  5. ^ Autor, D., Katz, L.F., Krueger, A.B. (1998). Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 113(4), pp. 1169-1213.
  6. ^ a b Autor, David H; Dorn, David; Hanson, Gordon H (2013-10-01). "The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States". American Economic Review. 103 (6): 2121–2168. doi:10.1257/aer.103.6.2121. ISSN 0002-8282.
  7. ^ "Why Obama's key trade deal with Asia would actually be good for American workers". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-22.