David Autor

Ford Professor of Economics

David Autor is a 2023 NOMIS Awardee, Ford Professor of Economics and a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cambridge, US), as well as codirector of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Labor Studies Program and the MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative. He is leading the project Will New Technologies Complement or Commodify Expertise?

Born in the US, Autor earned a BA in psychology from Tufts University (Medford, US) and a PhD in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (Cambridge, US) in 1999. Prior to his graduate studies, he spent three years directing computer skills education for economically disadvantaged children and adults in San Francisco and South Africa.

Autor has received recognition for both his scholarship—through the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Sherwin Rosen Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of labor economics, the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2019, the Society for Progress Medal in 2021—and for his teaching, receiving the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship. In 2020, Autor received the Heinz 25th Special Recognition Award from the Heinz Family Foundation for his work in “transforming our understanding of how globalization and technological change are impacting jobs and earning prospects for American workers.”

His scholarship explores the labor-market impacts of technological change and globalization on job polarization, skill demands, earnings levels and inequality, and electoral outcomes. In a 2019 article, The Economist labeled him as “the academic voice of the American worker.” Later that same year, and with equal justification, he was christened “twerpy MIT economist” by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight in a segment on automation and employment.