Man smiling in front of forestRecent Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics Ph.D. graduate, Ezra Karger, was selected as an honorable mention recipient for the 2021 Association of Public Policy and Management (APPAM) PhD Dissertation Award for his dissertation, Essays on the Measurement of Income in Economic Analysis. Karger is an economist in the microeconomics research group at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Spring 2021. 

APPAM recognizes emergent scholars in the field by presenting an award for the best Ph.D. dissertation in public policy and management. To be eligible, nominees must have completed their dissertations in the academic years 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 and been granted a degree during that period. According to the APPAM submission guidelines, “Dissertations from any discipline were acceptable as long as they dealt substantively with public policy issues and were nominated by a faculty member from an APPAM institutional member university.” Ezra was nominated by Dan A. Black, professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

Derek Neal, the William C. Norby Professor in Economics, said of Karger’s dissertation:

It is hard to demonstrate a causal link between giving children access to a library and adult outcomes in their lives. However, Ezra continued to acquire, build, and clean new data sets. He found ways to improve matching procedures and perform informative robustness checks. He even built what may be the first complete census of US high schools for the early 20th century. In the end, his tireless efforts to obtain more and better data allowed him to show that early library access improves educational attainment and fosters entry into safer and more prestigious occupations.

The award winner of the 2021 APPAM Ph.D. Dissertation Award, George Zuo, will be recognized along with Karger and other honorable mentions at the 2021 APPAM Fall Research Conference Membership & Awards Breakfast, tentatively scheduled for November 11-13. Karger was also invited to participate in a poster session at the conference.


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