Raj Chetty

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Raj Chetty
Born (1979-08-04) August 4, 1979 (age 39)
New Delhi, India
Citizenship United States
Institution Stanford University
Harvard University
University of California, Berkeley
Field Public economics
Alma mater Harvard University (Ph.D., 2003; A.B., 2000)
Martin Feldstein[1]
Awards MacArthur Fellowship (2012)
John Bates Clark Medal (2013)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Nadarajan "Raj" Chetty (born August 4, 1979) is an American economist.

He is a professor of economics at Harvard University, specializing in the field of public economics.[2] Some of Chetty's recent papers have studied equality of opportunity in the United States[3] and the long-term impact of teachers on students' performance.[4] Chetty previously taught at Harvard University, where he was offered tenure at the age of 28 and accepted at 29, becoming one of the youngest tenured faculty in the history of Harvard's economics department. He is a recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal and a 2012 MacArthur Fellow.[5] Currently, he is also an advisory editor of the Journal of Public Economics.[6]

Education and early career[edit]

Chetty was born in New Delhi, India, and lived there until the age of nine. His family immigrated to the United States in 1988. After graduating from the University School of Milwaukee, Chetty received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in 2000. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 2003,[7] with a thesis entitled Consumption commitments, risk preferences, and optimal unemployment insurance.[1] As a sophomore in college, Chetty was told by his mentor Martin Feldstein to pursue his own ideas after proposing a counterintuitive idea that higher interest rates sometimes lead to higher investment.[8] In 2003, at the age of 23, Chetty became an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, becoming a tenured associate professor there at 27.[8] In 2009, Chetty returned to Harvard, where he was the Bloomberg Professor of Economics and the director of the Lab for Economic Applications and Policy.[7] In 2015, Chetty moved to Stanford, where he became a professor in the Economics Department.[2] In June 2018, Raj Chetty's frequent coauthor John Friedman announced that Chetty will be returning to Harvard.[9]


In recent work with John Friedman and Jonah Rockoff, Chetty found that test-score based value-added measures are not substantially biased by unobserved student characteristics, and that the students of high value-added teachers have markedly better later-life outcomes.[4] Drawing on these findings, Chetty testified in the landmark case Vergara vs. California in support of the plaintiffs’ key points: that teacher quality has a direct impact on students’ achievements and that the current dismissal and seniority statutes have disparate impact on minority and low-income students.[10]

Chetty is also known for research showing that economic mobility varies enormously within the United States, and for work on the optimal level of unemployment benefits.


In 2008, The Economist and The New York Times listed Chetty as one of the top eight young economists in the world.[11] Chetty is among the most cited young economists in the world.[12] In 2010, he received the Young Labor Economist Award from the Institute for the Study of Labor for his paper "Moral Hazard Versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance" in the Journal of Political Economy.[13]

In 2012, he was one of 23 fellows to receive $500,000 over the following five years from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as a recipient of one of the Foundation's 'Genius Grants'.[5]

Chetty was the recipient of the 2013 John Bates Clark Medal, awarded by the American Economic Association to "that American economist under the age of forty who is adjudged to have made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge."[14]

Chetty was awarded the Padma Shri, an award for distinguished service in any field, by the Government of India in 2015.[15]

In 2018, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen has described Chetty as "the single most influential economist in the world today."[16]



  1. ^ a b Chetty, Nadarajan. "Consumption commitments, risk preferences, and optimal unemployment insurance". ProQuest. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Chetty, Raj. "RajChetty.com". Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Equality of Opportunity Project". www.equality-of-opportunity.org. 
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  5. ^ a b "2012 MacArthur Foundation 'Genius Grant' Winners". 1 October 2012. AP. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Journal of Public Economics". 
  7. ^ a b "Raj Chetty — MacArthur Foundation". www.macfound.org. 
  8. ^ a b Chesler, Caren (October 2007), "The Experimenter", The American 
  9. ^ "John N.Friedman on Twitter". 
  10. ^ "Research Items Archive - Students Matter". Students Matter. 
  11. ^ "International bright young things", The Economist, December 30, 2008 
  12. ^ zimmermann@stlouisfed.org. "Young Economist Rankings - IDEAS/RePEc". ideas.repec.org. 
  13. ^ "IZA - Institute of Labor Economics". www.iza.org. 
  14. ^ Brenda Cronin, Economist Is Awarded Top Honor in the Field, Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2013
  15. ^ "Padma Awards 2015". pib.nic.in. Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  16. ^ Center, Mercatus (2017-05-24). "Raj Chetty on Teachers, Taxes, Mobility, and How to Answer Big Questions". Medium. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 

External links[edit]