NBER Call for Papers: Economics of Mobility

January 7, 2020

Call for Papers
Economics of Mobility
Cambridge, MA: April 16-17, 2020
Submission deadline: Feb. 3, 2020

To promote research on issues that bear on the economics of mobility and related questions of inequality in both income and wealth, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has formed a Study Group on Economic Mobility. This initiative will bring together researchers across a variety of fields who can share and discuss current research findings on economic mobility broadly defined and also chart the most promising future directions for research in this area.

The Study Group will convene a research conference on the measurement of economic mobility and on the identification of explanations for mobility patterns in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Thursday-Friday, April 16-17, 2020. It will include a keynote address by Lawrence Katz (Harvard University and NBER) as well as presentations of six research papers.  The program will be organized by Sandra Black (Columbia University and NBER), the Study Group director, and Jesse Rothstein (UC-Berkeley and NBER).  

The organizers welcome submissions of research papers that address various aspects of the economics of mobility. While the meeting will focus on measurement issues and on empirical findings, conceptual papers are also welcome.  Potential topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  •  The measurement of inequality and mobility using household surveys, administrative data from government agencies, and other data sources;
  •  The causal relationships between various factors that affect mobility, such as health shocks, labor market shocks, family structure shocks, and mobility outcomes;
  •  The effect of experiences at very young ages on mobility patterns later in life;
  • The effects of public policies, including cash and in-kind transfer programs, employment assistance programs, education systems, safety nets, and place-based policies, on mobility, at both the individual and aggregate levels.

To be considered for presentation at the meeting, papers must be submitted by midnight EST on Monday, February 3, 2020, via the following link:


Submitted papers should not be published by April 2020. Papers by researchers with and without NBER affiliations, by early career scholars, and by researchers from under-represented groups, are welcome. Authors will be notified about which papers have been selected for the meeting by late February, 2020.

The NBER will cover the travel cost for up to two authors per paper; other co-authors are also welcome to attend at their own expense. Please direct questions about this conference to confer@nber.org.  


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