Justin Wolfers is a Professor of Economics and a Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is also a senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, co-editor of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research; a Research Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn; a Research Affiliate with the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London; an International Research Fellow with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, and a Fellow of the CESifo, in Munich. He was previously a visiting professor at Princeton, an Associate Professor at Wharton, an Assistant Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an economist with the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Dr. Wolfers earned his Ph.D. in economics in 2001 from Harvard University, and was a Fulbright, Knox and Menzies Scholar. He earned his undergraduate degree in Economics his native Australia at the University of Sydney in 1994, winning the University Medal.

Wolfers' research focuses on labor economics, macroeconomics, political economy, law and economics, social policy and behavioral economics. Beyond research, he is a columnist for Bloomberg View, a sometime blogger for Freakonomics, and a commentator for public radio's Marketplace program. He is also a popular teacher, with many teaching awards to his name.

He joined IZA as a research fellow in November 2004.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 7945

Can raising awareness of racial bias subsequently reduce that bias? We address this question by exploiting the widespread media attention highlighting racial bias among professional basketball referees that occurred in May 2007 following the release of an academic study. Using new data, we confirm that racial bias persisted in the...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7353
shorter version published in: American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 2013, 103 (3), 598-604

Many scholars have argued that once "basic needs" have been met, higher income is no longer associated with higher in subjective well-being. We assess the validity of this claim in comparisons of both rich and poor countries, and also of rich and poor people within a country. Analyzing multiple datasets,...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7309

Progress in closing differences in many objective outcomes for blacks relative to whites has slowed, and even worsened, over the past three decades. However, over this period the racial gap in well-being has shrunk. In the early 1970s data revealed much lower levels of subjective well-being among blacks relative to...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7105
published in: Emotion, 2012, 12(6), 1181-1187 (lead article)

In recent decades economists have turned their attention to data that asks people how happy or satisfied they are with their lives. Much of the early research concluded that the role of income in determining well-being was limited, and that only income relative to others was related to well-being. In...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 6720
published in: Handbook of Economic Forecasting, 2013, 2A, 657-684

Prediction markets – markets used to forecast future events – have been used to accurately forecast the outcome of political contests, sporting events, and, occasionally, economic outcomes. This chapter summarizes the latest research on prediction markets in order to further their utilization by economic forecasters. We show that prediction markets...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5640
Published in: Leighton Vaughn Williams (ed), Prediction Markets, Routledge, 2011.

This review paper articulates the relationship between prediction market data and event studies, with a special focus on applications in political economy. Event studies have been used to address a variety of political economy questions – from the economic effects of party control of government to the importance of complex...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5570
published in: American Economic Review, 2011, 101 (3), 281-287

We document that trust in public institutions – and particularly trust in banks, business and government – has declined over recent years. U.S. time series evidence suggests that this partly reflects the pro-cyclical nature of trust in institutions. Cross-country comparisons reveal a clear legacy of the Great Recession, and those...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5230
published in: The World Bank (ed.). Development Challenges in a Post-Crisis World, 2012

We explore the relationships between subjective well-being and income, as seen across individuals within a given country, between countries in a given year, and as a country grows through time. We show that richer individuals in a given country are more satisfied with their lives than are poorer individuals, and...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4884
published in: Journal of Political Economy, 2010, 118 (4), 723-746

The favorite-longshot bias describes the longstanding empirical regularity that betting odds provide biased estimates of the probability of a horse winning – longshots are overbet, while favorites are underbet. Neoclassical explanations of this phenomenon focus on rational gamblers who overbet longshots due to risk-love. The competing behavioral explanations emphasize the...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4200
published in: American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2009, 1(2), 190–225

By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women’s declining relative well-being is found across various...