David Autor is Ford Professor in the MIT Department of Economics, co-director of the NBER Labor Studies Program, and co-leader of both the MIT Work of the Future Task Force and the JPAL Work of the Future experimental initiative. His scholarship explores the labor-market impacts of technological change and globalization on job polarization, skill demands, earnings levels and inequality, and electoral outcomes.
Autor has received numerous awards for both his scholarship—the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Sherwin Rosen Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of Labor Economics, and the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2019—and for his teaching, including the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship. Most recently, Autor received the Heinz 25th Special Recognition Award from the Heinz Family Foundation for his work “transforming our understanding of how globalization and technological change are impacting jobs and earning prospects for American workers”.
In 2017, Autor was recognized by Bloomberg as one of the 50 people who defined global business. In a 2019 article, the Economist magazine labeled him as “The academic voice of the American worker.” Later that same year, and with (at least) equal justification, he was christened “Twerpy MIT Economist” by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight in a segment on automation and employment.
Autor is an elected Fellow of the Econometrics Society, the Society of Labor Economists, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Faculty Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. He is co-director of the NBER Labor Studies Program, Co-Director of the MIT School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative, and Scientific Advisor to the NBER Disability Research Center.
His teaching awards include the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship for contributions to undergraduate education, the James A. and Ruth Levitan Award for excellence in teaching, the Undergraduate Economic Association Teaching Award, and the Faculty Appreciation Award from the MIT TPP program.
Autor earned a BA in Psychology from Tufts University and a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1999. Prior to graduate study, he spent three years directing computer skills education for economically disadvantaged children and adults in San Francisco and South Africa. Autor is the captain of the MIT Economics hockey team, which is reputed to be one of the most highly cited teams in the MIT intramural league.