There’s no shortage of big, ambitious ideas for creating an education-workforce system that improves upward mobility for more people. Harvard education economist David Deming uses hard data to stress test those ideas and see what might work, and what probably won’t. We talk to him about what he’s learning and what he recommends we do right now to improve the value of education for an increasingly diverse workforce.


About David Deming

David Deming is professor of public policy and director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Deming’s research focuses on higher education, economic inequality, skills, technology, and the future of the work — particularly how technology changes the labor market and the implications for college and career pathways. He is a principal investigator at the CLIMB Initiative, which seeks to study and improve the role of higher education in social mobility, and a co-editor of American Economic Journal: Applied Economic, which covers a range of topics with a focus on empirical microeconomic issues.

He was the 2018 recipient of the David N. Kershaw Prize, awarded biannually to scholars under age 40 who have made distinguished contributions to the field of policy and management. Deming also is a frequent contributor to The New York Times’ Economic View column.

Deming earned a Bachelor of Science in economics and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from The Ohio State University. He received a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a doctorate in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.  He was an assistant professor of public policy and  economics at Carnegie Mellon University before returning to Harvard in 2016.

More of David’s work:

Tuition-Free College Could Cost Less Than You Think

In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure

The Robots Are Coming. Prepare for Trouble

Season 3, Episode 5 Transcript: Download