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Robert I. Lerman is Professor of Economics at American University and a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. He earned his A.B. from Brandeis University in 1965 and his PhD in Economics from MIT in 1970. He has both research and policy experience dealing with a range of social policies. In the 1970s, he worked on reforming the nation’s income maintenance programs and on youth employment policies as staff economist for both the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Dr. Lerman’s research deals primarily with factors influencing poverty and income inequality and the policies aimed at reducing these problems. He has published estimates of the impacts of changing family structure and of recent immigration on poverty and inequality in the US. He was one of the first scholars to examine the patterns and economic determinants of unwed fatherhood and to propose a youth apprenticeship strategy in the U.S. His research has appeared in monographs, book chapters, and in a variety of journals, including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Human Resources, Economica, National Tax Journal, and Review of Income and Wealth. His current studies deal with the interaction between marital stability and earnings and with the impact of public and private initiatives to strengthen marriage. He has served on the Board of Editors for Youth and Society, on the National Academy of Sciences panel examining the nation’s post-secondary education and training system for the work place, and is currently on the Board of the National Fatherhood Initiative.
He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in July 2004.