Economics professor awarded IZA Prize

Lawrence Katz.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard file photo

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Lawrence F. Katz, the Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics, has been awarded the 2020 IZA Prize in Labor Economics in an announcement lauding his 35 years of research documenting changes in income inequality and the role of educational opportunity in increasing living standards.

Katz, also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, has been editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics since 1991 and served as the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor in 1993 and 1994.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the 2020 IZA Prize in Labor Economics and immensely grateful to have had incredible mentors, collaborators, and students who made the research possible,” he said.

The award, which is worth €50,000, will be formally conferred during the EALE/SOLE/AASLE World Conference in Berlin in June. First awarded in 2002, the prize is given biennially and is considered the most prestigious science award in the field. A private independent economic research institute in Bonn, Germany, the IZA institute is supported by the Deutsche Post Foundation and serves as the hub of a global network of more than 1,600 economists who work to create a sound economic understanding of how labor markets work and how market policies perform.

“There is much exciting work left to be done on better understanding changes in labor market inequality and in designing and testing more effective policies to foster opportunity and more broadly shared prosperity,” said Katz, who is a research fellow of the institute.

IZA network director Daniel Hamermesh, who chaired the prize committee of seven economists, praised Katz.

“Like others worldwide, my understanding of changes in inequality in rich countries and what has been causing them has been greatly enhanced by his vast oeuvre of research on these subjects,” he said.