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Harry J. Holzer

Harry Holzer (born March 25, 1957) is an American economist, educator and public policy analyst. He is a Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

In the Clinton Administration, Holzer served as the Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor. He has served as the Associate Dean of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (2004–2006) and as Acting Dean (Fall 2006).

Holzer is currently an Institute Fellow at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), where he is codirector of the research program on postsecondary education and the labor market for the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER). Holzer has also been a founder and co-director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy. He is currently an Affiliated Scholar at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, a Senior Affiliate of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, a National Fellow of the Program on Inequality and Social Policy at Harvard University, a Research Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Metropolitan Program.

Holzer is a member of the editorial board at the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and a Research Fellow at IZA. He is a member of the board of directors for both the National Skills Coalition and the Economic Mobility Corporation. He has also been a professor of economics at Michigan State University (1983–2000), a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a Faculty Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research.[1]

Holzer holds a A.B. from Harvard University in 1978 (graduating Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and received his Ph.D. in 1983 from Harvard University in economics.


  • Research and Publications 1
  • Books 2
  • Other publications 3
  • Honors 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Research and Publications

Harry Holzer’s research focuses primarily on the labor market problems of low-wage workers and other disadvantaged groups, particularly minority workers. He has long been interested in the question of how employer characteristics and hiring practices, as well as the quality of jobs they generate, have affected job opportunities for less-skilled workers—especially when they create “mismatches” between worker skills and those sought by employers, as well as between their geographic locations (or “spatial mismatch”). He has studied employer data very extensively, and implemented surveys of about 7000 firms during the 1990s on their hiring practices, skill needs, and workforce characteristics. In recent years, he has analyzed trends in job quality and their effects on upward mobility for low-wage workers as well as worker inequality using the LEHD data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Harry Holzer has also written extensively about the employment problems of disadvantaged men (especially those with criminal records), the advancement prospects for the working poor, and workforce development policy broadly.[2] He has also written about welfare reform, discrimination, Affirmative Action, job training programs, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Holzer’s research on urban poverty and social policy has been funded by grants from the Joyce Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Upjohn Institute, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Mott Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Public Policy Institute of California.


  • The Black Youth Employment Crisis, (coedited with Richard B. Freeman). University of Chicago Press, 1986
  • Unemployment, Vacancies and Local Labor Markets. W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 1989
  • What Employers Want: Job Prospects for Less-Educated Workers. Russell Sage Foundation, 1996
  • Detroit Divided. (With Reynolds Farley and Sheldon Danziger). Russell Sage Foundation, 2000
  • Employers and Welfare Recipients: The Effects of Welfare Reform in the Workplace, ed. (with Michael Stoll). Public Policy Institute of California, 2001
  • The Economics of Affirmatie Action. (Co-edited with David Neumark.) Edward Algar, 2004
  • Moving Up or Moving On: Who Advances in the Low-Wage Labor Market (with Fredrik Andersson and Julia Lane). Russell Sage Foundation, 2005
  • Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men (with Peter Edelman and Paul Offner). Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2006
  • Reshaping the American Workforce in a Changing Economy, (coedited with Demetra Nightingale). Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2007
  • Against the Tide: Household Structure, Opportunities and Outcomes for White and Minority Youth (with Carolyn Hill and Henry Chen). W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2009
  • Where Are All the Good Jobs Going? (with Julia Lane, David Rosenblum, and Frederik Andersson). Russell Sage Foundation, 2011.

Other publications

Harry Holzer is the author of over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals in economics and public policy journals, including several articles in the American Economic Review, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Economic Literature, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Labor Economics and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

He has also written dozens of book chapters and many public policy briefs for the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, and has provided testimony to Congressional committees and other federal agencies on many occasions.


He is listed in Who’s Who in Economics (2003 edition) and in Marquis’ Who’s Who in America (beginning in 2008). He was the winner of the Policy Innovation Prize from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution in 2011, the Leslie Whittington Award at Georgetown University in 2002, the Distinguished Faculty Award at Michigan State University in 1998, and the Teacher-Scholar Award at Michigan State University in 1988.


  1. ^ Positions held per
  2. ^ "Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn".  

External links

  • Georgetown University website: [1]
  • Urban Institute: [2]
  • IDEAS: [3]
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