Deborah Cobb-Clark is Professor of Economics at the University of Sydney. She is Program Coordinator of IZA’s research area in Gender and Family Economics; a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course; and an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Professor Cobb-Clark earned a PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan (1990). Prior to joining the University of Sydney, she was the Ronald Henderson Professor and Director of the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne. She has also held positions at the US Labor Department, Illinois State University, and the Australian National University where she was the founding director of The Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research (SPEAR) Centre.

Her research agenda centres on the effect of social policy on labour market outcomes including immigration, sexual and racial harassment, health, old-age support, education and youth transitions. She has published more than four dozen academic articles in leading international journals such as American Economic Review, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, and Labour Economics. She is a former co-editor of the Journal of Population Economics.

Professor Cobb-Clark joined IZA as a Research Fellow in December 2000.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 11236

We use an incentivized experiment to measure the risk and time preferences of truant adolescents and their parents. We find that adolescent preferences do not predict school attendance and that a unique police-school partnership program targeting school absences was most effective in reducing the truancy of adolescents with relatively risk-averse...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 11070

We use variation in the extent of generational persistence across social assistance payments to shed light on the factors leading to intergenerational disadvantage. Our administrative data come from the Australian social security system and provide us with detailed social assistance trajectories – across the entire social safety net – for...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10653

This paper analyzes the bilateral relationship between depressive symptoms and employment status. We find that severe depressive symptoms are partially a consequence of economic inactivity. The incidence of depressive symptoms is higher if individuals have been out of a job for an extended period. Men's mental health falls as they...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10406

This paper extends standard models of work-related training by explicitly incorporating workers' locus of control into the investment decision. Our model both differentiates between general and specific training and accounts for the role of workers and firms in training decisions. Workers with an internal locus of control are predicted to...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10386
(Forthcoming in: the Oxford Handbook on the Economics of Women DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190628963.013.15)

Can biology help us to better understand gender differences in labor market behavior and outcomes? This chapter reviews the emerging literature which sheds light on this question, considering research in four broad areas: i) behavioral endocrinology; ii) human genetics; iii) neuroeconomics; and iv) sensory functioning and time-space perceptions.

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9879
Published in: Labour Economics, 2017, 46, 150-165. doi:10.1016/j.labeco.2017.05.001

Much of the economic cost of mental illness stems from workers' reduced productivity. We analyze the links between mental health and two alternative workplace productivity measures – absenteeism and presenteeism (i.e., lower productivity while attending work) – explicitly allowing these relationships to be moderated by the nature of the job...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9686

We propose a household production function approach to human development in which the role of parenting style in child rearing is explicitly considered. Specifically, we model parenting style as an investment in human development that depends not only on inputs of time and market goods, but also on attention, i.e....

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9600

Internal migration can substantially improve labor market efficiency. Consequently, policy is often targeted towards reducing the barriers workers face in moving to new labor markets. In this paper we explicitly model internal migration as the result of a job search process and demonstrate that assumptions about the timing of job...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9535
Published in Journal of Population Economics 2017 30(4): 1093–1134

This paper analyzes the source of the gender gap in third grade numeracy and reading. We adopt an Oaxaca-Blinder approach and decompose the gender gap in educational achievement into endowment and response components. Our estimation relies on unusually rich panel data from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children in which...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9250
Published in: Journal of Population Economics 2017 30(3):893–924

This paper analyzes the long-term consequences of children experiencing homelessness. Our primary goal is to assess the importance of the potential pathways linking childhood homelessness to adult employment. We use novel panel data that link survey and administrative data for a sample of disadvantaged adults who are homeless or at...