Richard Murnane
Harvard University
Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Research Professor of Education and Society

Year Elected


Membership status

Richard Murnane, an economist, is Thompson Professor of Education and Society at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In recent years, he has pursued three lines of research. With MIT Professors Frank Levy and David Autor, he has examined how computer-based technological change has affected skill demands in the U.S. economy. Murnane and Levy have written two books on this topic. The second line of research examines how increases in family income inequality in the U.S. have influenced educational opportunities for children from low-income families. Murnane and Greg Duncan have co-edited a volume describing four years of research on this topic. The volume, Whither Opportunity: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances, will be published in September 2011. The third area of research examines the consequences of particular initiatives designed to improve the performance of the education sector. For example, along with HGSE colleagues, Murnane has examined the consequences of providing salary bonuses to attract skilled teachers to high-need schools and the impact that exit examination requirements have on the probability that economically disadvantaged students graduate from high school. Murnane and his colleague, John Willett, recently published a book, Methods Matter: Improving Causal Inference in Educational and Social Science Research (Oxford U. Press, 2011).

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