David Autor is a Professor and Associate Department Head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Economics. He is also a Faculty Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Economic Perspectives (published by the American Economic Association), and has served on the Board of Editors at the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and the Journal of Labor Economics.

Autor received a B.A. in Psychology from Tufts University in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1999. His current fields of specialization include human capital and earnings inequality, labor market impacts of technological change and globalization, disability insurance and labor supply, and temporary help and other intermediated work arrangements.

Autor is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award for his research on labor market intermediation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and the Sherwin Rosen Prize in 2008 for outstanding contributions in the field of Labor Economics. In 2012, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Science, and he is also a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists and was a recipient of both the John T. Dunlop Outstanding Scholar Award given by the Labor and Employment Relations Association (2006) and MIT Undergraduate Economics Association Teaching Award (2005). He is currently a member of the American Economic Association’s Standing Committee on Oversight and Operation of Programs (SCOOP).

Prior to obtaining his Ph.D., Autor spent three years directing efforts in San Francisco and South Africa to teach computer skills to economically disadvantaged children and adults.

He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in February 2006.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 10756

The fall of labor's share of GDP in the United States and many other countries in recent decades is well documented but its causes remain uncertain. Existing empirical assessments of trends in labor's share typically have relied on industry or macro data, obscuring heterogeneity among firms. In this paper, we...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10539
forthcoming in: American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings

The recent fall of labor's share of GDP in numerous countries is well-documented, but its causes are poorly understood. We sketch a "superstar firm" model where industries are increasingly characterized by "winner take most" competition, leading a small number of highly profitable (and low labor share) firms to command growing...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9748
published in: Annual Review of Economics, 2016, 8, 205-240

China's emergence as a great economic power has induced an epochal shift in patterns of world trade. Simultaneously, it has challenged much of the received empirical wisdom about how labor markets adjust to trade shocks. Alongside the heralded consumer benefits of expanded trade are substantial adjustment costs and distributional consequences....

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9068
published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2016, 34 (S1), S141-S198

Even before the Great Recession, U.S. employment growth was unimpressive. Between 2000 and 2007, the economy gave back the considerable employment gains achieved during the 1990s, with a historic contraction in manufacturing employment being a prime contributor to the slump. We estimate that import competition from China, which surged after...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8788

This paper measures the causal effect of time out of the labor force on subsequent employment of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants and distinguishes it from the discouragement effect of receiving disability benefits. Using a unique Social Security Administration workload database to identify exogenous variation in decision times induced...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8514
published in: Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2014, 129 (4), 1799-1860

We analyze the effect of exposure to international trade on earnings and employment of U.S. workers from 1992 through 2007 by exploiting industry shocks to import competition stemming from China's spectacular rise as a manufacturing exporter paired with longitudinal data on individual earnings by employer spanning close to two decades....

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7906
published in: American Economic Review, Papers & Proceedings, 2014, 104 (5), 394-399

An increasingly influential "technological-discontinuity" paradigm suggests that IT-induced technological changes are rapidly raising productivity while making workers redundant. This paper explores the evidence for this view among the IT-using U.S. manufacturing industries. There is some limited support for more rapid productivity growth in IT-intensive industries depending on the exact measures,...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7329
published in: Economic Journal, 2015, 125(584), 621–646

We juxtapose the effects of trade and technology on employment in U.S. local labor markets between 1990 and 2007. Labor markets whose initial industry composition exposes them to rising Chinese import competition experience significant falls in employment, particularly in manufacturing and among non-college workers. Labor markets susceptible to computerization due...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7326
published in: American Economic Review, Papers & Proceedings, 2013, 103 (3), 220-225

This paper explores the geographic overlap of trade and technology shocks across local labor markets in the United States. Regional exposure to technological change, as measured by specialization in routine task-intensive production and clerical occupations, is largely uncorrelated with regional exposure to trade competition from China. While the impacts of...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 7178
published in: Journal for Labour Market Research, 2013, 46 (3), 185-199

An emerging literature argues that changes in the allocation of workplace "tasks" between capital and labor, and between domestic and foreign workers, has altered the structure of labor demand in industrialized countries and fostered employment polarization – that is, rising employment in the highest and lowest paid occupations. Analyzing this...