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Kirabo Jackson

Professor of Economics, Abraham Harris Professor of Education and Social Policy

Kirabo Jackson, a labor economist who studies education and social policy issues, is the Abraham Harris Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Jackson has analyzed several important aspects of education policy, including the importance of public school funding on student outcomes through adulthood, the effects of college-preparatory programs on students’ college and labor market outcomes, the effects of educational tracking on students’ academic achievement, and how single-sex education can impact students’ academic performance.

However, the bulk of Jackson’s work has focused on better understanding teacher labor markets. Jackson’s extensive work on teachers analyzes the role of peer learning in teacher effectiveness, how student demographics directly affect the distribution of teacher quality across schools, how a teacher’s effectiveness depends on the schooling context within which they operate, how best to measure teacher quality, and other related topics.

Since 2016, Jackson has been listed among the top university-based scholars who are doing the most to influence educational policy and practice by Education Week. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and other organizations.

In 2022, Jackson was appointed lead editor for the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, one of the nation’s most respected scholarly economic journals. He serves on the Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession at the American Economic Association and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Jackson’s scholarly articles have appeared in leading economics journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the American Economic Journal, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Labor Economics and the Journal of Human Resources. His research has been featured in a number of mainstream media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and others.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University in 1998 and his doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 2007. He was assistant professor in the department of labor economics at Cornell University between 2007 and 2010 and then moved to Northwestern where he subsequently earned tenure in 2012. He was promoted to full professor in 2017.