David Autor is Ford Professor in the MIT Department of Economics, vice president of the American Economic Association, co-director of the NBER Labor Studies Program and the JPAL Work of the Future experimental initiative. His scholarship explores the labor market impacts of technological change and globalization on job polarization, skill demands, earnings levels and inequality, and electoral outcomes.
Autor has received numerous awards for both his scholarship—the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Sherwin Rosen Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of Labor Economics, the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2019, the Society for Progress Medal in 2021—and for his teaching, including the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship. In 2020, Autor received the Heinz 25th Special Recognition Award from the Heinz Family Foundation for his work “transforming our understanding of how globalization and technological change are impacting jobs and earning prospects for American workers.”
In a 2019 article, the Economist labeled him as “The academic voice of the American worker.” Later that same year, and with (at least) equal justification, he was christened “Twerpy MIT Economist” by John Oliver of Last Week Tonight in a segment on automation and employment.