Robert J. LaLonde

Professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago

Robert J. LaLonde, a professor in the Harris School, focuses on program evaluation, education and training of the workforce, economic effects of immigration on developed countries, costs of worker displacement, impact of unions and collective bargaining in the United States, and economic and social consequences of incarceration. LaLonde has led research projects examining women in Illinois prisons and their children, and the employment prospects of young men after they are paroled from prison. He received his PhD in economics from Princeton University and joined the University of Chicago in 1985, where he first taught for ten years at both the Graduate School of Business and the Harris School. Previously, LaLonde was an associate professor of economics at Michigan State University. He has been a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and served as a senior staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisers during the 1987-1988 academic year. Currently he is a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) and at Public/Private Ventures, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the effectiveness of social policies, programs, and community initiatives.

Related to Robert J. LaLonde

audio Icon

Investing in What Works: The Importance of Evidence-Based Policymaking—Introduction & Panel 1: Opportunities for Bringing Evidence to Policymaking

April 18, 2013 • Audio

Founder & Chairman of Evercore Partners Roger Altman provided welcoming remarks to kick off this forum co-hosted by The Hamilton Project and Results for America. In the first panel discussion, Jeffrey Liebman of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Louis Jacobson of New Horizons Economic Research presented new proposals on the crucial role of evidence and results in policymaking. The authors were joined by former White House Domestic Policy Council Director John Bridgeland, New York City Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, Results for America Managing Director Michele Jolin and Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone for a discussion of the new papers.


Investing in What Works: The Importance of Evidence-Based Policymaking

Events • April 17, 2013 • Washington, DC 20001

On April 17th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings and Results for America, an initiative of America Achieves, co-hosted a forum and released two new papers on the important role of evidence in policymaking. U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Alan Krueger, Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and other distinguished experts participated in roundtable discussions on the proposals and how evidence-based policymaking can improve the effectiveness of federally funded programs.


Using Data to Improve the Performance of Workforce Training

Papers • April 2013 • Louis S. Jacobson, Robert J. LaLonde

Workforce training programs have the potential to improve the lives and incomes of millions of Americans by lifting many into the middle class and preventing others from falling out of it. Despite their promise, however, too many workers enroll in courses that they do not complete or complete courses that do not lead to better jobs, reducing the benefits to workers and the economic return to workforce investments. Louis Jacobson of New Horizons Economic Research and Robert LaLonde of the University of Chicago propose a competition to increase the return on training investments by developing the data and measures necessary to provide the information prospective trainees need, by presenting the information in user-friendly “report cards,” by providing help for prospective trainees to use the information effectively, and by creating incentives for states to implement permanent information systems once they prove cost-effective.

charts Icon

Earnings Gains of Displaced Workers in Technical Fields versus Other Fields

November 30, 2011 • Charts

Retraining in technical fields provides higher returns for workers than retraining in non-technical classes.


Policies to Reduce High-Tenured Displaced Workers’ Earnings Losses Through Retraining

Papers • November 2011 • Louis S. Jacobson, Robert J. LaLonde

After being displaced from long-tenured jobs, workers often experience persistent, significant earnings losses. New research suggests that retraining in certain “high-return” fields can substantially reduce these losses. In a new Hamilton Project paper, Louis S. Jacobson, Robert J. LaLonde and Daniel G. Sullivan propose the establishment of a Displaced Worker Training (DWT) Program to distribute grants to displaced workers so they can obtain longer-term training to substantially increase their earnings. The DWT Program would also leverage the nation’s One-Stop Career Centers to assess and counsel grantees.


Hard Times, Solid Policies to Renew American Communities

Events • October 13, 2010 • Washington, DC

Governor Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.) joined former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, New York City Deputy Mayor Steve Goldsmith, and other experts in a Hamilton Project forum focused on policy solutions for renewing American communities. The Hamilton Project released a strategy paper and three new proposals that provide a range of options for helping communities and workers recover from recent economic shocks.


Retraining Displaced Workers

Papers • October 2010 • Louis S. Jacobson, Robert J. LaLonde

Robert LaLonde of the University of Chicago and Daniel Sullivan of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago suggest that retraining through our nation’s community colleges is a way to reduce the skills gaps of at least some of these displaced workers and increase their reemployment earnings.

Downloads & Links

Browse Our People

Hamilton Project Updates

A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.