264 Bay State Road, Room 302A
Department of Economics
Biographical Sketch (click here for a
Education: I received my BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)from Oxford University, my MSc in economics from the University of Montreal, and my PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Academic: I am presently a professor in the Department of Economics at Boston University where I served as chair from 2005 to 2009. I am an elected Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists. I am also a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Research and Analysis of Migration (University College, London), a Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn) and a Fellow of the Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality (Stanford University), and have for many years been a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Employment Research Forum. I am a co-editor of Labour Economics, the Journal of the European Association of Labor Economists. Before coming to BU, I spent a year at the NBER as an Olin Foundation Fellow and before that was an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine. During my tenure at Boston University, I have twice visited MIT for a year, once as a visiting scholar and once as a visiting professor. I spent three months at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research on a Fullbright Fellowship. I was the recipient of a Sloan Foundation Faculty Research Fellowship. I spent my most recent sabbatical at the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, Italy, the School of Economics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and the Center for Research and Analysis of Migration.
Consulting: I do relatively little consulting since I prefer to focus on my research and teaching and on my civic activities (see below). When I do consult, I generally prefer projects that are likely to lead to academic publication. Over the years, I have consulted on a variety of projects including the intake dispositions of juvenile offenders (leading to publications in Journal of Research on Crime and Delinquency and the Journal of Public Economics), for the World Bank on the labor market in Sri Lanka (leading to a publication in the Journal of Development Studies) and on various projects related to health, none of which has generated any publications as yet. I have also served as an expert witness or consultant to legal counsel on various cases related to lead exposure and to discrimination.
Civic Activities: I live in Brookline, Massachusetts near JFK's birthplace. In 1992 I was elected to Town Meeting and a year later was chosen to co-chair the Financial Planning Advisory Committee (FPAC), a blue-ribbon commission that reviewed the town's financial and administrative structures. FPAC recommended a Proposition 2½ override, and I helped run the override campaign. That experience spurred me to study the economic effect of Proposition 2½ (see papers below). In 1994, I supported and helped run a debt exclusion campaign to renovate Brookline High School. In 1996, I ran successfully for School Committee (what most of the rest of the country calls the School Board or Board of Education) and was reelected in 1999. I served as Vice-Chair for three years and Chair for two. I stepped down from the committee in May 2009. Some reflections on that experience can be found in my article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. I remain active in Brookline as a member of Town Meeting and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Brookline Senior Center.
National Research Council: My civic and professional activities have coalesced in my participation in a number of activities of the National Research Council/National Academies of Science. Since 2006, I have been serving on a consensus panel on Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Public Education. I served on the committee that produced the report Getting Value Out of Value-Added, and am now a member of the Board on Testing and Assessment.
CareerOwl: Through my connections to the Canadian Employment Research Forum (see above), I have been peripherally involved in CareerOwl. www.CareerOwl.ca is a nonprofit employment information and e-recruiting site founded by Canadian university professors to help job-seekers and employers connect, conveniently and directly. The service is open to all, but has special features to facilitate recruiting for the highly qualified. Job-seekers pay nothing and retain full control over their information. All campus, volunteer, co-op and student internship jobs can be posted for free by calling 1-877-OWL-POST (1-877-695-7678) to arrange for this. Employers pay $25 per regular 8-week Canadian job ad, posted as widely or selectively as the employer chooses. Foreign jobs can also be posted, but cost more.
EC325 (Poverty and Discrimination)
EC751 (Labor Economics) - first part of a two-part PhD-level sequence (first half of semester)
Research and Papers
My research focuses on the economics of labor markets and education, including such topics as discrimination, unemployment, the relation between education and earnings and the relation between housing prices, taxes and local services. I work on both theory and empirical work, and occasionally on theoretical econometrics of a very applied type.
These are the data for Lang, K. and Zagorsky, J. "Does Growing Up with An Absent Parent Really Hurt?" Journal of Human Resources, 36 (Spring 2000).
The data are in STATA format. Click here to download.
I few years ago, I analyzed a survey conducted by the Brookline Public
School in collaboration with the Brookline Educators Association. The survey
examined the effect of the MCAS (