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
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."
August 21, 2018
American Public Media
Colleges have long offered a pathway to success for just about anyone -- but new research shows that they're not doing enough to help students from poor families achieve the American dream. Economist John Friedman said children of well-to-do families are likely to stay that way, while children of poor families are likely to stay poor -- and "I think that's led to a real feeling that the American dream is slipping away from them."
August 13, 2018
This article about the implications of the Supreme Court ruling on union membership focuses on its impact on teachers. It notes that economist John Friedman and his colleagues found that students of good teachers are less likely to experience teenage pregnancy, more likely to go to selective colleges, and end up earning more money as adults than students from comparable backgrounds who had worse teachers.
May 23, 2018
Economist John Friedman said that while attending college is an "incredible boost to upward mobility," the path to higher education can have pitfalls for lower-income and minority students, who often leave college saddled with unsustainable debt after earning a degree that may not boost their income or upward mobility.
April 17, 2018
Americans' tax records are the best dataset for assessing income inequality and the odds that a child born poor can become rich. The IRS still only accepts a small number of applications for studies every year, and a list put together by economist John Friedman shows they are almost all from elite schools.
March 12, 2018
Economist John Friedman spoke with GoLocalProv in a live video about how children's opportunities to climb the income ladder later in life depend heavily on where they grow up and how big data can play a role in designing place-based public policy.
Mar 7, 2018
Reaffirming University Values Lecture Series
5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Joukowsky Forum