Sandra Black Headshot

Sandra E. Black

Professor of Economics and of International and Public Affairs

Sandra Black Headshot

International Affairs Building, Room 1111

Personal Details

Focus areas: labor economics, education economics, intergenerational mobility, discrimination

Sandra E. Black is Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. Since that time, she worked as an Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and an Assistant, Associate, and ultimately Professor in the Department of Economics at UCLA, and held the Audre and Bernard Centennial Chair in Economics and Public Affairs in the Department of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin before arriving at Columbia University. She is currently an Editor of the Journal of Labor Economics and was previously a Co-Editor and Editor of the Journal of Human Resources. Dr. Black is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a Research Affiliate at IZA, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution. She served as a Member of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers from August 2015-January 2017. Her research focuses on the role of early life experiences on the long-run outcomes of children, as well as issues of gender and discrimination.


  • PhD, Harvard University
  • BA, UC Berkeley

Honors and Awards

  • Dunaway Distinguished Lecture, Michigan State University, April 2019
  • Keynote Speaker, AEA Conference on Teaching and Research in Economic Education, June 2018
  • Distinguished Visitor, Program for Economic Research, Columbia University, April 2018
  • Honorary Doctorate, Norwegian Business School, June 2017
  • Keynote Speaker, The Role of the Firm in the Labor Market, March 2017, Berlin, Germany
  • Elected Fellow, Society of Labor Economists, May 2016
  • Keynote Speaker, Undergraduate Women in Economics Conference, University of Virginia, April 2016
  • Invited Presentation, Society of Labor Economists, 2015
  • Keynote Speaker, Canadian Women in Economics Lunch, Canadian Economics Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada May 2013
  • Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago, May 2013
  • Keynote Speaker, European Association of Labor Economics, Bonn, Germany, September 2012
  • Keynote Speaker, European Society of Population Economics, Hangzou, China, June 2011
  • Florence Gould Foundation Fellowship for Research at Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques, 2006, 2009
  • Fellow, Center for American Politics and Public Policy, UCLA, 2002-2003
  • Upjohn Institute for Research Related to Employment Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention, 1997
  • Warren C. Scoville Distinguished Teaching Award, UCLA, Winter 2004, Winter 2007

Research And Publications

Poor Little Rich Kids? The Role of Nature versus Nurture in Wealth and Other Economic Outcomes and Behaviors

May 2019

NBER Working Paper No. 21409

Sandra E. Black

Paul J. Devereux

Petter Lundborg

Kaveh Majlesi

Breaking the Glass Ceiling: The Effect of Board Quotas on Female Labor Market Outcomes in Norway

Jan 2019

Review of Economic Studies

Sandra E. Black

Marianne Bertrand

Sissel Jensen

Adriana Lleras-Muney

Born to Lead? The Effect of Birth Order on Non-Cognitive Skills

May 2018

Review of Economics and Statistics

Sandra E. Black

Erik Grönqvist

Björn Öckert

This Is Only a Test? Long-Run and Intergenerational Impacts of Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Downfall

Oct 2017

NBER Working Paper No. 18987

Sandra E. Black

Aline Bütikofer

Paul Devereux

Kjell Salvanes

On the Origins of Risk-Taking in Financial Markets

Oct 2017

Journal of Finance

Sandra E. Black

Paul Devereux

Petter Lundborg

Kaveh Majlesi

In The Media

Sandra Black said: “What we see also is that there is a declining pattern by birth order. So the second born does a little bit worse than the firstborn, the third born does a little bit worse."

Mar 08 2024
Business Insider
Geopolitical Stability

The launch of the Institute of Global Politics (IGP) highlights SIPA’s commitment to bringing scholars together with the world’s leading practitioners to drive change and address our toughest policy challenges.

Oct 03 2023

Sandra Black and coauthors find that lifting the borrowing limits did not improve access to student loan programs.

May 01 2023

A new discussion paper from Sandra Black and co-authors finds that "increased student loan availability raises student debt and improves degree completion, later-life earnings, and student loan repayment."

Jan 01 2023
IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Inclusive Prosperity

Professor Sandra Black is a labor economist whose work is at the intersection of academia and policy.

Oct 18 2022