Kenneth A. Swinnerton

US Department of Labor, USA, and IZA, Germany

I have spent my career in research on labor market outcomes for adults, or on how to encourage schooling rather than labor for children. This project provided the opportunity to identify explicitly how those two areas connect and in a way that is accessible to policymakers. I am grateful for the opportunity, and that IZA World of Labor exists as a channel to bring research findings into policy making

IZA World of Labor role


Current position

Deputy Director, Office of Economic and Labor Research, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Department of Labor

Research interest

Economics of core labor standards, economic causes and consequences of child labor, the labor market implications of financial crises, the informal sector, economic welfare analyses of minimum wage laws, job stability, and the employment impacts of trade agreements

Positions/functions as a policy advisor

Senior Economist, President’s Council of Economic Advisers (2013–2014); Chair, Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) Employment, Labor and Social Affairs Committee (2015–present); Chair, Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) Working Party on Employment (2006–2011)

Past positions

Professorial Lecturer in Economics, Georgetown University (August 1995–May 1996); Teaching Assistant, Georgetown University (1988–1992)


PhD Economics, Georgetown University, 1992

Selected publications

  • “Adult returns to schooling and children’s school enrollment: Theory and evidence from South Africa.” Research in Labor Economics 31 (2010): 291–319 (with S. Donovan).

  • “A theory of exploitative child labor.” Oxford Economic Papers 60:1 (2008): 20–41 (with C. A. Rogers).

  • “Slave redemption when it takes time to redeem slaves.” In: Appiah, A., and M. Bunzl (eds). The Ethics and Economics of Slave Redemption. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007 (with C. A. Rogers).

  • “Does child labor decrease when parental incomes rise?” Journal of Political Economy 112:4 (2004): 939–946 (with C. A. Rogers).

  • “The economics of child labor: Comment.” American Economic Review 89:5 (1999): 1382–1385 (with C. A. Rogers).