Last autumn, David Card received the award for contrarian research he published long ago. By Beatrice Aronson.
Professor David Card was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2021 for work that he completed 30 years ago. Studying the effects of minimum wage and immigration, Professor Card used empirical research to dispute the long-held economic assumptions that both were job killers. Using data to add nuance or challenge assumptions is a feat he’s repeated on topics ranging from voting machines to local education options.
A native of Ontario, Canada, Professor Card began his academic journey at Queen’s University. He pivoted from physics to study labor economics because he felt it was more practical. He received a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 1983 and has taught at the University of Chicago, Princeton and Harvard. He’s been at the University of California, Berkeley since 1998 and is currently the Director of the Center for Labor Economics and the Econometric Lab. He has been the recipient of the IZA Prize in Labor Economics and the International Econometric Society’s Frisch Medal, and was named the John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow by the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Professor Card shares his prize with Joshua Angrist of MIT and Guido Imbens of Stanford University.
On a sleepy Thursday afternoon on UC Berkeley’s campus, with shouts from a high school summer program and the chatter of friends on the grassy glade drifting up through an open window, Brunswick intern and UC Berkeley student Beatrice Aronson spoke with Professor Card. In a manner that can only be described as nonchalant, he discussed the current state of the economy, his Nobel Prize win—he thought the call letting him know he had won was a practical joke—and how data from the 1940 Census is driving his next research projects.