Simon Jäger, labor economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been appointed to become the CEO of IZA as of September 2022. He will take over this position from Hilmar Schneider, who has successfully managed and expanded IZA’s activities in labor economics research and evidence-based policy advice for past six years, and will leave the institute at the end of May.
After studying economics at the University of Bonn and the University of California, Berkeley, Simon Jäger graduated with a PhD in economics from Harvard University. His dissertation was awarded the W.E. Upjohn Institute Dissertation Award’s First Prize and Harvard University’s David A. Wells Prize for the best dissertation in economics, and he was recently awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Economics (Associate Professor as of July 2022) at MIT and an NBER Faculty Research Fellow.
He works on such topics as competition in the labor market, unions and other forms of worker representation, unemployment, and the role of psychological factors in the labor market. One line of his work has studied the causal effects of giving workers the right to participate in their firm’s decision-making and electing employee board representatives on outcomes such as productivity and wages.
Some of his recent work sheds light on how workers’ misperceptions about wages they could earn elsewhere give rise to firms’ market power to set lower wages and sustain a low-wage sector in the labor market. Methodologically, his research combines experimental and quasi-experimental methods with large administrative data sets, for example from Germany, Finland or Argentina.
Since 2009, Simon Jäger has been a member of the IZA network with now over 1,800 scholars worldwide. With the MIT economist’s appointment as CEO, IZA aims to further strengthen its international reputation as a leading center for research in labor economics. Professor Jäger will be on leave from MIT. His affiliation with the University of Bonn is planned.