John N. Friedman is an associate professor of economics and international affairs and public policy. His research brings together theory and data, harnessing the power of large administrative datasets to yield policy-relevant insights on a wide range of topics, including taxation, healthcare, and education quality. His work has appeared in top academic journals as well as in major media outlets. His most well-known papers estimate the long-term effects of teachers on student outcomes such as college attendance and earnings; in just one year, a great teacher can raise the lifetime earnings of a single class of students by nearly $1.5 million. This work was cited by President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union Address. Friedman has also worked as special assistant to the President for economic policy at the National Economic Council in the White House from 2013-2014. He holds a PhD in economics, an AM in statistics, and a BA in economics, all from Harvard University. He is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“Identification and Inference with Many Invalid Instruments” w/ Michal Kolesar, Raj Chetty, Edward L. Glaeser and Guido W. Imbens (2013) Revise and resubmit at JBES
“Measuring the Impacts of Teachers I: Estimating Bias in Teacher Value-Added Estimates.” w/ Raj Chetty and Jonah Rockoff
American Economic Review, Vol. 104 (9), pp. 2593-2632 (2014)
“Measuring the Impacts of Teachers II: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood.” w/ Raj Chetty and Jonah Rockoff
American Economic Review, Vol. 104 (9), pp. 2633-2679 (2014)
“Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowd-Out in Retirement Savings: Evidence from Denmark” w/ Raj Chetty, Soren Leth-Petersen, Torben H. Nielsen, and Tore Olsen. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol 129(3), (2014)
“Using Differences in Knowledge Across Neighborhood to Uncover the Impacts of the EITC on Earnings” w/ Raj Chetty and Emmanuel Saez. American Economic Review, Vol. 103 (7), pp. 2683-2721 (2013)
"How Does Your Kindergarten Class Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project STAR" w/ Raj Chetty, Nate Hilger, Emmanuel Saez, Diane Schanzenbach, and Danny Yagan. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol 126 (4), pp. 1593-1660 (2011)
“Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Denmark” w/ Raj Chetty, Tore Olsen, and Luigi Pistaferri
Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 126 (2), pp. 749-804 (2011)
MPA 2455 Statistics for Public Policy
Talks & Media
Are America's colleges promoting social mobility? - APM Reports
America, Land of Equal Opportunity? Still Not There - Bloomberg
The Ivy League Students Least Likely to Get Married - The Upshot
Higher Ed and the American Dream - Inside Higher Ed
Top public universities are shutting out poor students, report says - Washington Post
April 11, 2019
Research by Professor John Friedman's think tank, Opportunity Insights, is cited in an article on the recent college admissions scandal. "Research published by Opportunity Insights ... has found that roughly three dozen of the country’s “elite” colleges enroll more students from households in the top 1 percent of the income scale than they do students from the bottom 60 percent of that scale."
January 22, 2019
Top Economists, Brown MPA Grads Collaborate on the Opportunity Atlas
January 11, 2019
Associate Professor of Economics John Friedman, sat down with WPRI's Ted Nesi to discuss the interactive mapping tool he co-created called the Opportunity Atlas.
October 4, 2018
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will commit $15 million to get the new initiative Opportunity Insights, co-founded by associate professor of economics John Friedman, off the ground. This week, the organization, in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, published comprehensive nationwide data and maps that predict the likelihood that kids will escape poverty based on where they live.
October 1, 2018
The New York Times
In collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau, Opportunity Insights, a research and policy institute formed by economists from Harvard and Brown Universities, including Associate Professor John Friedman, released an interactive mapping tool called "The Opportunity Atlas." The Opportunity Atlas helps predict how neighborhoods influence the trajectories of the children who grow up there.
September 18, 2018
Wall Street Journal
Associate Professor of Economics John Friedman offered commentary on Brightline's expected acquisition of a private rail project on the Las Vegas Strip. "...Friedman concluded Brightline would be unable to service its debt burden on the Miami train system, in a study funded by a citizens group opposed to the rail line."
September 12, 2018
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Economist John Friedman said the dream of faring better than one's parents has been dwindling every year since the 1960s. "Friedman is working with Ohio State and more than 300 other colleges nationwide to find out what's helping people advance and holding them back."
Mar 7, 2018
Reaffirming University Values Lecture Series
5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Joukowsky Forum