Economist Kirk Doran Wins Albert Rees Dissertation Prize

Author: Aaron Smith

Kirk Doran

Notre Dame economist Kirk Doran has been awarded the 2013 Albert Rees Prize for outstanding Princeton Ph.D. dissertation in Labor Economics. Doran’s dissertation focused on child labor in rural Mexico.

“I wanted to see what happened to adults when children left the workforce,” says Doran, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics. “Sending kids to school instead of sending them to work could actually increase adult wages as well as child education, and in environments where many adults are underemployed this could be an important benefit of child labor reduction.”

When all the numbers were crunched, Doran found that it was indeed a win-win situation: “When children left the workforce, the demand for adult labor increased.”

The Rees prize is awarded every two years for a Princeton Ph.D. dissertation, completed within the past six years, judged to have made the greatest contribution to labor economics. The prize carries an honorarium and commemorates renowned labor economist Al Rees, former provost at Princeton University, chief inflation monitor in the Ford Administration, and president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Rees died in 1992.

“This prize is significant because Princeton’s doctoral program has a long history of producing excellent labor economists,” says Richard Jensen, Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics and chair of Notre Dame’s Department of Economics. “Past winners include full professors at Princeton, MIT, and UC-San Diego. In fact, the current Provost at Princeton is a past winner of this prize.”

Doran’s more recent publications have explored how the movement of scientists around the world can impact the economy. A faculty fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Doran has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, The Journal of Human Resources, and Economica.

“The economics department does a great job of supporting assistant professors,” Doran says. “I’m grateful to my senior colleagues for their guidance, and Richard Jensen has been a fantastic chair.”

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