SOLE Prize for Contributions to Data & Measurement

Katharine Abraham is the inaugural recipient (2019) of the Society of Labor Economists' prize for contributions to data and measurement.  Katharine is a professor of economics, a professor of survey methodology, and the director of the Maryland Center for Economics and Policy, all at the University of Maryland.  Katharine is also a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists, a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and president-elect of the Society of Labor Economists.

Katharine was Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1993 to 2001.  Katharine was instrumental in initiating several new BLS surveys: the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), the National Longitudinal Survey 1997 cohort (NLSY97), and the Contingent Worker Supplement (CWS) to the Current Population Survey (CPS).  In addition to these new surveys developed during Katharine's time as BLS Commissioner, the BLS also developed the Business Employment Dynamics (BED) by longitudinally linking existing administrative microdata.

During her tenure as Commissioner of BLS, Katharine oversaw many changes to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and she testified before Congress many times regarding BLS efforts to improve the accuracy of the CPI.  Katharine has already been recognized for her contributions to measurement; she is the 2002 recipient of the Julius Shiskin Memorial Award for Economic Statistics and the 2010 recipient of the Roger Herriot Award for Innovation in Federal Statistics.

Katharine is a role model regarding service to the economic measurement community.  She was chair of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, and currently serves as chair of the NBER's Conference on Research in Income and Wealth (CRIW), as coordinator of IZA's program in labor statistics, and as a member of the advisory committees for the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Katharine has been a leader in methodological innovations to both employment and price statistics, and she continues this with her research on topics such as understanding the relationship between unemployment and vacancies and measuring non-standard employment arrangements.  Katharine has utilized a wide range of data in her research, including collecting her own data.

Katharine Abraham is a natural choice for the first-ever Society of Labor Economists' prize for contributions to data and measurement.

2019 SOLE Prize Nominating Committee:
Joseph Altonji (ex-officio)
Sandra Black
Steven Davis
David Johnson
Chinhui Juhn
James Smith (chair)
James Spletzer