Edward P. Lazear

Stanford University, USA, and IZA, Germany

Dr Lazear, founder of the field of personnel economics, passed away in November 2020. A former US presidential adviser, until his death, Lazear was the Davies Family Professor of Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the Morris Arnold Cox and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was a pioneering labor economist and a gifted teacher.

IZA World of Labor role


Research interest

Employee incentives, promotions, compensation, and productivity in firms

Positions/functions as a policy advisor

Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisers, The White House (2006–2009)

Past positions

Davies Family Professor of Economics (2017–2020) and Morris Arnold Cox Senior Fellow (Hoover Institution) (2002–2020), Stanford University, USA; Jack Steele Parker Professor of Human Resources Management, Stanford University, USA (1995–2017); Isidore Brown and Gladys J. Brown Professor of Urban and Labor Economics, Graduate School of Business (1985–1992) University of Chicago, USA


PhD Economics, Harvard University, 1974

Selected publications

  • “Personnel Economics.” In: Gibbons, R., and J. Roberts (eds). The Handbook of Organizational Economics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013; pp. 479–519 (with P. Oyer).

  • “The Peter principle: A theory of decline.” Journal of Political Economy 112:S1 (2004): S141–S163 (Papers in Honor of Sherwin Rosen: A Supplement to Volume 112).

  • “Educational production.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116:3 (2001): 777–803.

  • Personnel Economics. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1995.

  • Personnel Economics for Managers. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.