In the Usery Lecture held on April 19, 2012, Professor David Card spoke about neighborhood segregation and racial “tipping”, attitudes toward immigrants, the pleasure or displeasure of employees on learning their co-workers’ salaries, and how teenagers’ sexual activity is influenced by the behavior of their friends. What do these disparate topics have in common? All involve outcomes influenced by the behavior of peers. Card’s lecture, titled “Peer Effects in Labor Markets, Neighborhoods, and Among Friends,” summarized four recent papers on these topics by Card and his coauthors. These studies used different methods and types of data to solve a notoriously difficult problem – how to empirically identify causal effects of peers on one’s own behavior.
David Card is the Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a John Bates Clark Medal winner from the American Economic Association, the Director of Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a fellow and Frisch Medal winner of the Econometric Society, and current President of the Society of Labor Economists. He was previously a co-editor of the American Economic Review and Econometrica. Card has authored influential policy-oriented research on wage determination, immigration, education, unemployment, welfare reform, health insurance, strikes and collective bargaining, and program evaluation. He co-authored the 1995 book, Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage, co-edited several books, including the multi-volume Handbook of Labor Economics, and authored 100-plus journal articles. Card was educated at Queen's University (Canada) and received his PhD from Princeton University in 1983. He taught at Princeton University from 1983 to 1996 before going to Berkeley.
In addition to his lecture, Card met informally with faculty and doctoral students in Economics to discuss their research. He also attended a luncheon with AYSPS faculty and other area labor economists hosted by Barry Hirsch, professor (Economics) and the W.J. Usery Chair of the American Workplace.