Ehrenberg, Ronald G. 1946- (Ronald Gordon Ehrenberg)

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Ehrenberg, Ronald G. 1946- (Ronald Gordon Ehrenberg)


Born April 20, 1946. Education: Harpur College of the State University of New York at Binghamton), B.A. (cum laude), 1966; Northwestern University, Ph.D., 1970.


Home—Ithaca, NY. Office—Cornell University, 385 Ives E., Ithaca, NY 14853-3901. E-mail—[email protected].


Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, instructor in economics, 1970; Loyola University, assistant professor of economics, 1970-71; University of Massachusetts, assistant professor, 1971-72, associate professor of economics, 1972-75; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, associate professor, 1975-77, professor of economics and labor economics, 1977-85, Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics, 1985—, chair of department of labor economics, 1976-81, director of research at New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 1979-95, director of ILR-Cornell Institute for Labor Market Policies, 1990-95, and codirector, 1995-97, vice president for academic programs, planning and budgeting, 1995-98, director of Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, 1998—, Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, member of board of trustees. Visiting professor, Tel Aviv University, 1980, 1986; visiting scholar, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1980. Research associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1981—; research fellow, Institute for the Study of Labor, Berlin, German, 2002—. Consultant to universities, government agencies, businesses, and private organizations. Member, National Academy of Social Insurance, 1989—, and Council of the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research, 1990-94.


American Economic Association, National Academy of Science, National Academy of Education, American Association for Higher Education, American Educational Research Association, National Association of College and University Business Officers, American Education Finance Association, Society of Labor Economics (president, 2002), Industrial Relations Research Association.


NDEA Title IV fellowship, 1966; Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship, 1969; Manpower Administration fellowship, 1969; Exemplary Undergraduate Teaching award, General Mills Foundation, 2003; Society of Labor Economics fellowship, 2004; recipient of numerous research grants.



Fringe Benefits and Overtime Behavior: Theoretical and Econometric Analysis, Lexington Books (Lexington, MA), 1971.

The Demand for State and Local Government Employees: An Economic Analysis, Lexington Books (Lexington, MA), 1972.

(With Robert Hutchens and Robert Smith) The Distribution of Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Costs, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Evaluation, and Research (Washington, DC), 1978.

The Regulatory Process and Labor Earnings, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1979.

(With Robert S. Smith) Modern Labor Economics: Theory and Public Policy, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1982, 9th edition, Pearson/Addison-Wesley (Boston, MA), 2006.

(With Paul L. Schumann) Longer Hours or More Jobs? An Investigation of Amending Hours Legislation to Create Employment, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), 1982.

(With Robert J. Flanagan and Robert S. Smith) Labor Economics and Labor Relations, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1984.

(With George H. Jakubson) Advance Notice Provisions in Plant Closing Legislation, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research (Kalamazoo, MI), 1988.

(With Malcolm Getz and John J. Siegfried; and contributor) Economic Challenges in Higher Education, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.

Labor Markets and Integrating National Economies, Brookings Institution (Washington, DC), 1994.

The American University: National Treasure or Endangered Species?, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1997.

Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

(With Liang Zhang) Do Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Matter? (electronic publication), National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

(With Liang Zhang) Crafting a Class: The Trade Off between Merit Scholarships and Enrolling Lower-Income Students (electronic publication), National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, MA), 2005.


Do Compensation Policies Matter?, ILR Press (Ithaca, NY), 1990.

(And contributor) Choices and Consequences: Contemporary Policy Issues in Education, ILR Press (Ithaca, NY), 1994.

(With Francine D. Blau) Gender and Family Issues in the Workplace, R. Sage Foundation (New York, NY), 1997.

(With F.K. Alexander; and contributor) Maximizing Resources: Universities, Public Policy, and Revenue Production, Jossey-Bass (Hoboken, NJ), 2003.

(And contributor) Governing Academia: Who Is in Charge at the Modern University?, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2004.

What's Happening to Public Higher Education?, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Readings in Modern Economics, edited by J. Crawford; High Employment: Problems and Solutions, edited by Paul Burgess and Jerry Kingston, Arizona State University Press, 1979; The Economics of Municipal Labor Markets, edited by Werner Hirsch and Anthony Rufolo, 1982; The Measurement of Labor Costs, edited by J. Triplett, University of Chicago Press, 1983; Handbook of Labor Economics, edited by O. Ashenfelter and R. Layard, North Holland, 1987; Public Sector Payrolls, edited by David Wise, University of Chicago Press, 1987; Human Resources and the Performance of Firms, edited by M. Kleiner and others, IRRA, 1987; The Public Sector Look of American Unions, edited by R. Freeman and C. Ichniowski, University of Chicago Press, 1988; Employment, Unemployment, and Labor Unionization, edited by R. Hart, Unwin Hyman, 1988; New Perspectives on Workers' Compensation, edited by J. Burton, ILR Press, 1988; Comparable Worth Analyses and Evidence, edited by A. Hill and M. Killingsworth, ILR Press, 1989; Rethinking Employment Policy, edited by D. Lee Bawden and F. Skidmore, Urban Institute Press, 1989; Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education, edited by C. Clotfelter and M. Rothschild, University of Chicago Press, 1993; Employment Security and Labor Market Behavior: Interdisciplinary Approaches and International Evidence, edited by C. Buechtemann, ILR Press, 1993; Exploring the Economics of Higher Education, edited by M. McPherson and M. Shapiro, Forum for the Future of Higher Education, 2001; College Choice: The Economics of Which College, When College, and How to Pay for It, edited by C. Hoxby, University of Chicago Press, 2004; The U.S. Scientific and Technical Workforce: Improving Data for Decision Making, edited by T. Kelley and others, Rand Corporation, 2004; Higher Education in Canada, edited by C. Beach, R. Broadway, and M. McInnis, McGill-Queens University Press, 2005; and Recruitment, Retention and Retirement: The Three R's of Education in the 21st Century, edited by R. Clark and J. Meads, Edwin Elger, 2005.

Contributor to scholarly journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Human Resources, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Journal of Political Economy, Change, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, American Economist, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Sports Economics, Trusteeship, Scientific American, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Urban Economics, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Evaluation Studies Review Annual, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Law and Economics, Research in Labor Economics, Science and the University, Journal of College Admissions, Journal of Economic Literature, Regulation, Economics of Education Review, and Economic Inquiry. Editor, Research in Labor Economics: An Annual Compilation of Research, 1975-94; coeditor, Journal of Human Resources, 1994-2003; advisory editor, Economic Letters, 1978-93. Member of editorial boards for journals, including Journal of Economics and Business, 1975-79, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 1977—, American Economic Review, 1981-84, Economics of Education Review, 1994—, and Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2002-04.


Originally an economist who focused on labor issues in America, Ronald G. Ehrenberg has more recently focused on the economics of higher education in America, especially since he himself became more involved in university administration. Among his writings on this topic is Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much. While drawing on his experiences as a vice president at Cornell University, Ehrenberg explains that a big reason that tuition has been rising more quickly than inflation and household incomes has been competition among universities. This is particularly true of prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale, and his own Cornell, but is also true of other schools. As Joseph A. Soares put it in a review for the American Journal of Sociology: "Ehrenberg explains spiraling expenses in the private sector as an unintended effect of the market. In a positional competition for prestige, institutions at the top cannot remain there without relentlessly increasing their expenditures." The author also includes a "plea for self-restraint," according to Soares, who nevertheless added that "Ehrenberg's analysis inspires little faith that they will act." The critic complained, though, that Ehrenberg's book is most applicable to elite institutions of higher learning, and less so to other schools: "One wishes that his objections to the criteria went beyond Cornell's disadvantages to examine those facing other institutions, public ones in particular." On the other hand, Charles T. Clotfelter asserted in his Industrial and Labor Relations Review assessment of the same book: "While its setting is particular, this book's message has wide applicability." The reviewer also remarked: "While Ehrenberg was not the first to note all of these cautionary examples, his presentation of them in the context of the Cornell experience, complete with the surrounding institutional context, makes this treatment fresh and quite compelling. His discussions of rankings and mandatory retirement are especially intriguing." Clotfelter concluded: "For top administrators at research universities, this is serious, required reading about vital topics, brimming with useful wisdom. For those of us more generally interested in either higher education or how economists fare in the real world, Ehrenberg's book is simply fun to read."



Academe, July-August, 2004, David W. Leslie, review of Governing Academia: Who Is in Charge at the Modern University?

American Journal of Sociology, November, 2003, Joseph A. Soares, review of Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much, p. 780.

Industrial and Labor Relations Review, October, 2001, Charles T. Clotfelter, review of Tuition Rising, p. 176.

Journal of Consumer Affairs, summer, 1999, Sharon A. DeVaney, review of Gender and Family Issues in the Workplace, p. 209.

Library Journal, August, 2000, Mark Bay, review of Tuition Rising, p. 122.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2006, review of What's Happening to Public Higher Education?

Teachers College Record, fall, 1993, Arthur Hauptman, review of Economic Challenges in Higher Education.


Cornell University Web site, (January 17, 2007), profile of Ronald G. Ehrenberg.

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Ehrenberg, Ronald G. 1946- (Ronald Gordon Ehrenberg)

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