About the Authors
Greg J. Duncan is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine. He is the 2013 recipient of the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize which rewards scientific work of high social relevance to the personality development of children and young people. Duncan was honored for his exceptional commitment to put into practice innovative solutions in the field of child and youth development. Click here for further information.
With a 1974 Ph.D. in Economics, Duncan spent the first two decades of his career at the University of Michigan working on, and ultimately directing, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data collection project. Since 1968, the PSID has collected economic, demographic, health, behavior and attainment data from a representative sample of U.S. individuals and the families in which they reside. In 2001, the PSID was named by the National Science Foundation to be one of the “Nifty Fifty” which recognizes the most significant NSF-funded projects in the organization’s history.
Beginning in the late 1980s, Duncan’s research began to focus on the impacts of family and neighborhood conditions on children’s cognitive and behavioral development. With the advent of welfare reform in the mid-1990s, Duncan and Chase-Lansdale organized two national conferences and numerous outreach activities in an attempt to focus academic and policy interest on the impacts of welfare reform on children. These efforts led to the 2001 book For Better and for Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families.
During his 1995-2008 tenure at Northwestern University, he was the Edwina S. Tarry Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy. He coauthored Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and Their Children (2007) and co-edited Neighborhood Poverty (1997), Consequences of Growing Up Poor (1997) and, most recently, Whither Opportunity: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances (2011).
Duncan was President of the Midwest Economics Association in 2004, President of the Population Association of America in 2008 and President of the Society for Research in Child Development between 2009 and 2011. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, the National Academy of Education in 2009 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2010.
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Richard J. Murnane is an economist, the Thompson Professor of Education and Society at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
In recent years he has pursued three lines of research. With MIT professors Frank Levy and David Autor, he has examined how computer-based technological change has affected skill demands in the United States’ economy, and the effectiveness of educational policies in responding to changing skill demands. Murnane and Levy have written two books on this topic.
The second line of research examines trends and patterns in U.S. high school graduation rates and their explanations. In June 2013, the Journal of Economic Literature published Murnane’s interpretive review of the evidence on this topic.
The third line of research examines the respects in which the growth in family income inequality in the U.S. has affected educational opportunities for children from low-income families and the effectiveness of alternative strategies for improving life chances for these children. Murnane co-edited (with Greg Duncan) the 2011 volume, Whither Opportunity: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances (Russell Sage).
In 2011, Murnane and his colleague, John Willett, published the book Methods Matter: Improving Causal Inference in Educational and Social Science Research (Oxford U. Press). He is the co-author of six books on education and opportunity and editor or contributor to many more.
Early in his career, Murnane taught high school mathematics in Houston, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. He served as Special Senior Assistant to the Superintendent, Boston Public Schools (2001-2002).