Aaron Sojourner

Sojourner is a labor economist and senior researcher at the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.  His research focuses on 1) effects of labor-market institutions, 2) policies to promote efficient and equitable development of human capital with a focus on early childhood and K-12 education systems, and 3) behavioral economic approaches to consumer finance decisions. The Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Economic Journal, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Public Economics, ILR Review, Industrial Relations, Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, and other journals have published his work and he serves on the ILR Review international editorial board.

Sojourner has a wide range of policy experience and community service. He is a member of the Minnesota State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Care and Education. He took leave for the 2016-2017 academic year and spent the year in Washington, DC serving as senior economist for labor at the U.S. President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) for Presidents Obama and Trump. Previously, he served on Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’s Cradle-to-K Cabinet advising the city on how to reduce racial disparities through policies affecting children’s first three years. He also served as a member of the Human Capital Research Collaborative’s steering committee, a director of Spring Bank, a community bank in the Bronx and Harlem, N.Y, and a fellow in the U.S. Senate’s Labor Policy Office. He is a research fellow at IZA, a visiting scholar at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, and a fellow of the Roosevelt Institute.

Sojourner completed his PhD in economics at Northwestern University in 2009 and was a pre-doctoral fellow in the university’s Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences. He also has an M.A. in public policy analysis from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in history from Yale University. From 2009 to 2022, he worked at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.