THE BLAIR ECONOMICS LAB
WHERE RESEARCH EXCELLENCE MEETS MENTORING
The Blair Economics Lab (BE-Lab) is an Economics research group based at Harvard University in the Graduate School of Education. Our research in applied micro-theory focuses on supply-side issues in higher education, the effects of occupational licensing on labor market discrimination, and the link between residential segregation and educational outcomes.
We work collaboratively with faculty and students from Clemson University, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, University of Chicago, Cornell University, and Northwestern University.
Working Papers, Publications, & Works in Progress
“While college enrollment has more-than doubled since 1970, elite colleges have barely increased supply, instead reducing admit rates. We show that straightforward reasons cannot explain this behavior. We propose a model where colleges compete on prestige, measured using relative selectivity or relative admit rates."
STARs MAKING HEADLINES
"Opportunity@Work has been promoting the idea of skills- and experience-based hiring since 2015. It estimates that 50 percent of the American work force comprises workers who have gained their skills through alternative routes... — a deep pool of underutilized and undercompensated talent."
Harvard Magazine chronicles the research and growth of The Project on Workforce at Harvard through the voices of 'STARs'—workers Skilled Through Alternative Routes.
“As a Black man, Blair brings a special perspective to the topic of professional licensing, which raises entry barriers to professions that in some cases disproportionately affect racial minorities."
WHY DON'T ELITE COLLEGES EXPAND?
"We find that when we calibrate the model with prestige on, we’re able to fit the patterns in the data, which show that admissions rates have been declining at elite institutions and also the average SAT scores have been going up both for applicants and also for matriculants."
NEW FRONTIERS IN LICENSING RESEARCH
"Because licensing laws by nature impose entry requirements, economists have long believed that licensing would reduce labor supply. Bobby Chung and I provide one of the first estimates of the impact of licensing on the supply of workers using representative national data."
Does occupational licensing reduce the effectiveness of customer search on digital platforms?
"Every 1 percent increase in a school district’s spending increased local house prices by .95 percent. More significantly, every 1 percent spent on teacher salaries increased house prices by 2 percent."
"There's value in considering the efficacy of linking transportation infrastructure investments with places that have spacial permanence within minority communities."
"We can't look at regional integration as a panacea for some fundamental, structural issues within each of our countries."