Roland G. Fryer, Jr: Using Economics to Solve Racial Inequality


Monday, April 17, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Harvard Kennedy School: Allison Dining Room


Roland G. Fryer, Jr.Henry Lee Professor of Economics, Harvard University.

As part of an ongoing research narrative using the tools of economics to understand and solve inequality in America, Dr. Fryer will discuss unpublished results from a recent study in Houston, Texas.

This study examines the impact on student achievement of implementing management training for principals in traditional public schools, using a school-level randomized field experiment. Across two years, principals were provided 300 hours of training on lesson planning, data-driven instruction, and teacher observation and coaching. The findings show that offering management training to principals significantly increases student achievement in all subjects in year one and has an insignificant effect in year two.

Dr. Fryer argues that the results in year two are driven by principal turnover, coupled with the cumulative nature of the training. Schools with principals who are predicted to remain in their positions for both years of the experiment demonstrate large treatment effects in both years, while those with principals that are predicted to leave have statistically insignificant effects in the first year and negative effects in the second.

About the speaker

Roland G. Fryer, Jr. is the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and faculty director of the Education Innovation Laboratory (EdLabs). Fryer's research combines economic theory, empirical evidence, and randomized experiments to help design more effective government policies. His work on education, inequality, and race has been widely cited in media outlets and Congressional testimony.

Professor Fryer was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and the John Bates Clark Medal — given by the American Economic Association to the best American Economist under age 40. Among other honors, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the Calvó-Armengol Prize and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. At age 30, he became the youngest African-American to receive tenure at Harvard.

His current research focuses on education reform, social interactions, and police use of force.

Learn more about Roland Fryer's work


Registration Closed
See also: Spring 2017