Edward Lazear

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Edward Paul Lazear
Edward Lazear.jpg
24th Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
In office
February 27, 2006 – January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Ben Bernanke
Succeeded by Christina Romer
Personal details
Born 17 August 1948[1]
New York City
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Harvard University

Edward Paul "Ed" Lazear (/ləˈzɪər/, lə-ZEER) (born August 17, 1948) is an award-winning American economist, considered the founder of personnel economics, and was the chief economic advisor to President George W. Bush.


Edward Lazear is an economist who is currently a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.[2] The author of an extensive body of research, he also regularly appears on such networks as CNBC and Fox Business News, and is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal.[3]

Lazear graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with AB and AM degrees in 1971. He received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 1974.[4]

Lazear served at the White House from 2006 - 2009, where he was chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.[2] Before coming to Stanford, he taught at the University of Chicago.

Lazear is the founding editor of the Journal of Labor Economics, as well as the founder of the Society of Labor Economists.[2]

Lazear is also currently the Jack Steele Parker Professor of Human Resources, Management and Economics at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, as well as a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.[2]

Lazear enjoys outdoor activities in his spare time, and is an avid mountain biker[5]


Lazear is the founding editor of the Journal of Labor Economics. He has published over 100 scholarly articles,[1]

Most of his work has to do with motivating and compensating workers. One of his most famous papers, "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," argues that in certain circumstances, it is in a firm's best interest to rank its employees and pay particularly high wages to the top-ranked employees. This helps explain why the highest jobs, like chief executive officer, often draw paychecks that are much higher than the next-highest jobs, even though the skill differences between those employees are not very high. It also helps explain the partnership structure of law firms, in which associate lawyers compete to become partners and earn a much higher salary. He has also analyzed how peer pressure and mandatory retirement can help reduce principal–agent problems in companies. He also recently studied how entrepreneurs are developed.


Lazear has won a number of awards over his career. Among those that he has won are:[2]

Lazear also holds four honorary degrees, the most recent from the Copenhagen Business School.


  • Lazear, Edward P. (1995). Personnel Economics. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-12188-3.  Chapter-preview links.
  • Edward Lazear, ed. (1996). Culture Wars in America. Hoover Institution Press. ISBN 0-8179-5762-6. 
  • Lazear, Edward (1995). Economic Transition in Eastern Europe and Russia: Realities of Reform. Hoover Institution Press. ISBN 0-8179-9332-0. 
  • Lazear, Edward (2002). Education in the Twenty-first Century. Hoover Institution Press. ISBN 0-8179-2892-8. 
  • Lazear, Edward and Michael Gibbs (2009). Personnel Economics in Practice. 4th ed.,Wiley. ISBN 0-471-67592-X.  Description and preview.
  • Lazear, Edward et al., ed. (2004). Personnel Economics, Elgar, with 43 articles dating from 1962 to 2000 (link to contents link here).
  • Lazear, Edward P. (1979). "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?" Journal of Political Economy, 87(6), pp. 1261-1284.
  • Lazear, Edward P., and Sherwin Rosen (1981). "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, 89(5), pp. 841-864.
  • Lazear, Edward P. (1986). "Salaries and Piece Rates," Journal of Business, 59(3), pp. 405-431.
  • _____ (1999). "Personnel Economics: Past Lessons and Future Directions," Journal of Labor Economics, 17(2), p. 233 [pp. 199-236. (Presidential address to the Society of Labor Economists.)
  • _____ (2000a). "Economic Imperialism," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(1), pp. 99-146.
  • _____ (2000b). "The Future of Personnel Economics," Economic Journal, 110(467), pp. F611-F639.
  • _____ (2000c). "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, 90(5), pp. 1346-1361.
  • Lazear, Edward P., and Kathryn L. Shaw (2007). "Personnel Economics: The Economist's View of Human Resources," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(4), pp. 91-114.
  • Lazear, Edward, 2008. "personnel economics," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition, v. 6, pp. 380–84]. Abstract.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nominations of Edward P. Lazear, Randall S. Kroszner, and Kevin M. Warsh, February 14, 2006, Volume 4, p. 35.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Edward Lazear biography". Hoover Institution. 
  3. ^ "Articles by Edward Lazear". Hoover Institution. 
  4. ^ . Stanford Graduate School of Business http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/lazear/index.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Bush's Not-So-Easy-Riders". Washington Post. 2007-12-17. 


External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Ben Bernanke
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
Succeeded by
Christina Romer