SIPA Faculty-Miguel Urquiola

Miguel Urquiola

Professor of International and Public Affairs and of Economics; Chair Department of Economics

SIPA Faculty-Miguel Urquiola

International Affairs Building, Room 1014

Personal Details

Focus areas: Economics of education, competition between schools and universities, formation of reputations of quality in schools and universities, selection of educational providers by parents and students and the consequences of such choices on sorting and labor market outcomes

Miguel Urquiola is professor and chair of the Department of Economics, Columbia University. He is also a member of the faculty of the School of International and Public Affairs, and of the Columbia Committee on the Economics of Education.

Outside Columbia, Urquiola is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and has held prior appointments at Cornell University’s Economics Department, the World Bank’s research department, the Bolivian Catholic University, and the Bolivian government. He is on the editorial board of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and was previously co-editor of the Journal of Human Resources.

His research is on the Economics of Education, with a focus on understanding how schools and universities compete, and how they form reputations for quality. It covers how students select educational providers, and the consequences such choices have on academic performance and labor market outcomes.


  • PhD in Economics, University of California, Berkeley
  • BA, Swarthmore College


  • Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research
  • Co-editor, Journal of Human Resources

Honors and Awards

  • Tenth anniversary meetings of the Impact Evaluation Network, Keynote address, 2017
  • 5th Congress of Colombian Economics, Universidad de los Andes, Featured speaker, 2016
  • Korea Development Institute Conference on Education, Featured speaker, 2016
  • Research Institute for Development, Growth, and Economics, Keynote address, 2016

Research And Publications

In The Media

Research from W. Bentley MacLeod and Miguel Urquiola describes how several higher education reforms in the US led to increased competition and revolutionized the quality of research.

Feb 09 2021

A review says Miguel Urquiola "deserves credit for highlighting American academic research pre-eminence and giving a plausible description of the historical process that made it possible."

Jun 23 2020
James G. Martin Center

Educational economist Miguel Urquiola discusses the upsides of inequality and the dangers of ‘unbundling.’

Apr 25 2020
Times Higher Education

Urquiola’s new book, Markets, Minds and Money, explores why U.S. universities have an outsized impact on research output worldwide, among other issues.

Apr 23 2020

Results are substantially different than widely publicized opinion-based ranking by U.S. News & World Report.

Feb 08 2018