Colm P. Harmon

University of Sydney, Australia, and IZA, Germany

There remains a major gap between what academic economists do, and what policymakers and others think we do. That is a pity—the gap is much smaller than it seems, and the needs of policymakers inform what we do as academic economists so the relationship is key. IZA World of Labor serves a critical role in shrinking this gap, in ensuring wider audiences are reading academic research, and hopefully encouraging policymakers to make us do more and do better

IZA World of Labor role

Author, Former Editor

Current position

Head of School of Economics, University of Sydney

Research interest

Economics of education, labor economics, applied economics policy

Past positions

Professor, University College Dublin (2004–2012); Director, UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin (2003–2012)


PhD Economics, University of Keele, 1997

Selected publications

  • “Measuring investment in human capital formation: An experimental analysis of early life outcomes.” Labour Economics (Forthcoming) (with O. Doyle, J. Heckman, C. Logue, and S. Moon).

  • “The impact of parental income and education on the schooling of their children.” IZA Journal of Labor Economics 2:8 (2013): 1–22 (with A. Chevalier, V. O’Sullivan, and I. Walker).

  • “Validating the use of vignettes for subjective threshold scales.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A 174:3 (2011): 575–595 (with A. Van Soest, L. Delaney, A. Kapteyn, and J. P. Smith).

  • “Does education raise productivity or just reflect it?” Economic Journal (November 2004) (with A. Chevalier, I. Walker, and Y. Zhu).

  • “Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK.” American Economic Review 85:5 (1995): 1278–1296 (with I. Walker).