David Deming is a Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He co-directs the Harvard Inequality and Social Policy program.
He recently won the David Kershaw Prize for distinguished contributions to the field of public policy and management by a scholar under the age of 40. David gave a talk entitled "What Does Education Do?" at the Fall 2018 APPAM Research Conference - here is a copy of the slides, and here is a tweestorm about the talk.
Along with Raj Chetty and John Friedman, he started the CLIMB (Collegiate Leaders in Increasing MoBility) initiative, a partnership between researchers, policymakers and a diverse group of U.S. colleges and universities. CLIMB's goal is to understand the role of higher education in fostering social mobility. CLIMB is linking data from hundreds of institutional partners to data on earnings and other long-run outcomes. The kickoff conference was on October 30th on the campus of UT-Austin.
(New!) STEM Careers and Technological Change
A new paper with Kadeem Noray studies the life-cycle returns to STEM degrees. The key finding is that STEM careers have relatively flat age-earnings profiles, because the job-relevant skills learned in school become obsolete over time. Here is a link to the NBER paper - an an ungated version is here. Abstract below:
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs are a key contributor to economic growth and national competitiveness. Yet STEM workers are perceived to be in short supply. This paper shows that the “STEM shortage” phenomenon is explained by technological change, which introduces new job tasks and makes old ones obsolete. We find that the initially high economic return to applied STEM degrees declines by more than 50 percent in the first decade of working life. This coincides with a rapid exit of college graduates from STEM occupations. Using detailed job vacancy data, we show that STEM jobs changed especially quickly over the last decade, leading to flatter age-earnings profiles as the skills of older cohorts became obsolete. Our findings highlight the importance of technology-specific skills in explaining life-cycle returns to education, and show that STEM jobs are the leading edge of technology diffusion in the labor market.
"The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market" is forthcoming in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. The final pre-publication version is here. A complete replication package with data, programs and a readme file can be found here.
A recent paper with Lisa Kahn shows that social skill requirements in job ads are positively correlated with average pay and firm performance, even within occupation and industry categories.
Here is a recent overview article for the NBER Reporter called "The Value of Soft Skills in the Labor Market."
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