Richard Murnane

Member Since: 1990

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Richard Murnane, an economist, is Thompson Research Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Over the last 45 years, Murnane has studied relationships between the U.S. economy and the U.S. educational system. Murnane and MIT economist Frank Levy examined the impacts of technical change on skill demands, producing the 1996 book Teaching the New Basic Skills (Free Press) and the 2004 book, The New Division of Labor (Princeton University Press). Murnane and economist Greg Duncan then examined the respects in which growth in family income inequality in the U.S. has affected educational opportunities for children from low-income families. Products included the 2011 edited volume, Whither Opportunity (Russell Sage), and the 2014 book, Restoring Opportunity (Harvard Education Press and Russell Sage). To help education researchers improve strategies for making causal inferences, Murnane and Harvard statistician John Willett wrote the book, Methods Matter (Oxford U. Press, 2011). In 2017 Murnane completed a research project with Stanford sociologist Sean Reardon that examined trends in the use of different types of private schools by low- and higher-income families in the U.S. Currently Murnane is working with John Willett and a team of researchers from Brown University on research examining the roles of Massachusetts community colleges in providing students with the skills and credentials needed to thrive in changing labor markets. His and Willett’s work focuses on community colleges. Murnane is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education and is a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists.

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