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Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics

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Good Jobs: The Growing Importance of Who You Work For

By David Card, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley

In the simple models that economists routinely use to think about the labour market there is no such thing as a “good job”: everyone is paid what they are worth, regardless of whom they work for. Common experience and a growing body of evidence from many different countries suggests that in fact different firms often pay higher or lower wages, and that the differentials between firms offering good and bad jobs are wider than ever. In this lecture, Professor Card will review this evidence and discuss the importance of firms’ pay and hiring policies for understanding wage inequality, the gender pay gap, the career profile of wages, and many other phenomena.

About the distinguished lecturer

David CardDavid Card is the Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Center for Labor Economics at Berkeley. He taught at Princeton University from 1983 to 1996, and has held visiting appointments at Columbia University, Harvard University, UCLA, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

His research interests include wage-setting, education, inequality, and gender-related issues. He co-authored the 1995 book Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage, and co-edited The Handbook of Labor Economics (1999), Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms (2004); and Small Differences that Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States (1992). He has also published over 100 journal articles and book chapters. Professor Card served as Director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research from 2012 to 2017. He was co-editor of Econometrica from 1991 to 1995 and coeditor of the American Economic Review from 2002 to 2005.

In 1992 Professor Card was elected a fellow of the Econometric Society, and in 1998 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1995 he received the American Economic Association's John Bates Clark Prize, which is awarded every other year to the economist under 40 whose work is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the field. He was a co-recipient of the IZA Labor Economics Award in 2006, and was awarded the Frisch Medal by the Econometric Society in 2007 and the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in 2015.


The Faculty of Arts gratefully acknowledges our Economics alumni for their generous support* of the Distinguished Lecture Series.

  • Brian Lipskie
  • Anonymous (1)

*gifts of $1,000 or more

For photos of the event and reception, please see the image gallery

Previous Distinguished Lectures: Fall 2017Fall 2016Winter 2015 | Fall 2015 | Winter 2014