Jordan Matsudaira


Jordan Matsudaira

Assistant Professor
133, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Phone: 607-229-9478
View Cornell University Contact Info
Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Jordan Matsudaira is a labor economist whose work addresses the effects of education, health, and welfare policies on the behavior and well-being of vulnerable populations. His research ranges from investigating the impact of bilingual education programs on the educational and economic outcomes of the children of immigrants, to the impact of unionization on teacher and student outcomes in charter schools, to the effects of emerging accountability efforts in higher education.  He is also studying how to best measure the outputs of institutions of higher education, the impact of providing prospective students with institution performance information on college choice, and the functioning of the federal financial aid system.  Jordan holds a Ph.D. in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Michigan, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Post-doctoral Fellow in Health Policy Research at University of California, Berkeley before coming to Cornell.  From 2013 to 2015 he was on leave from Cornell on President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, serving as Chief Economist. In the Administration he worked on a variety of labor and education policies, and led the technical development of the College Scorecard.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

 I teach a survey course in education policy, and an upper undergrauate practicum in econometrics, and a PhD course in applied econometrics. For the survey course my goal is to expose students to the myriad challenges in the U.S. education system and to give them a glimpse at how many people are engaged in improving outcomes for students. My goal is to whet their appetite for further learning, and to expose them to various careers in education.  My aim in econometrics is to win hearts and minds - to make students fall in love with the possibilities of using data to solve real world problems and to make them become, or want to become in the case of undergraduates, expert producers of policy research.

Current Professional Activities:

American Economics Association
Association of Public Policy and Management
Association of Education Finance and Policy

Current Research Activities:

My current research projects are centered around the following topics: 

  • How heterogeneous are the returns to college across institutions, and what is the best type of information that can be provided to prospective students to help them make the best choices?
  • What impact does federal financial aid have on college access, completion, and post-graduation outcomes (e.g., earnings, family formation, etc.)?  How heterogeneous are these effects across institutions?
  • What explains the large rise in student debt levels over time, and what policies might best address problems in the system?

Current Public Engagement Activities:

- 2013-2015 - Chief Economist of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

- Currently, U.S. Treasury Department Expert.

- Consultant to U.S. Department of Education on measures of College Quality and various financial aid policy proposals

- Working with National Academy of Sciences on Measuring Quality of Postsecondary Institutions 


2005 Ph.D., Economics and Public Policy. University of Michigan.
2002 M.A., Economics. University of Michigan.
1996 M.P.P., Harvard University. John F. Kennedy School of Government.
1993 B.A., Union College.

Courses Taught:

PAM 2550-AMST 2560: Waiting for Superman?  Perspectives on the 'Crisis' in American K-12 Education
PAM 4100-ECON 3170: Causal Reasoning and Policy Evaluation
PAM 6090-ECON 6590: Empirical Strategies for Policy Analysis

Related Websites:

Personal Site:

Selected Publications:

Matsudaira, Jordan (2016). “Economic Conditions and the Living Arrangements of Young Adults.” forthcoming, Journal of Population Economics.

Matsudaira, Jordan and Rebecca Blank.  (2014) “The Impact of Earnings Disregards on the Behavior and Income of Low Income Families.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Matsudaira, Jordan (2014). “Monopsony in the Low-Wage Labor Market? Evidence from Minimum Nurse Staffing Regulations.” Review of Economics and Statistics.

Matsudaira, Jordan (2014). “Government regulation and the quality of health care: Evidence from minimum staffing legislation for nursing homes.” Journal of Human Resources.

Matsudaira, Jordan and Maricar Mabutas (2014).  “Federal CollegeWork Study.” in Dominic Brewer and Lawrence Picus, editors. Encyclopedia of Education Economics and Finance. Sage Publications.

Matsudaira, Jordan and Richard Patterson (2014).  “Innovation in Education.” in Dominic Brewer and Lawrence Picus, editors. Encyclopedia of Education Economics and Finance. Sage Publications.

Matsudaira, Jordan (2014). “Monopsony in Health Labor Markets Theory, prima facie Plausibility, and Evidence.” in Tony Culyer,editor. Encyclopedia of Health Economics. Elsevier. 

Matsudaira, Jordan, Adrienne Hosek and Elias Walsh (2012).  “An Integrated Assessment of the Effects of Title I on School Behavior, Resources, and Student Achievement.” with Adrienne Hosek and EliasWalsh. Economics of Education Review, 31(3): 1-14.

Matsudaira, Jordan (2008). "Mandatory Summer School and Student Achievement." Journal of Econometrics, 142(2), 829-850.


Selected Keywords:
matsudaira, teacher evaluation, education reform, labor economics, poverty, applied econometrics, monopsony, regression discontinuity, bilingual education, economics of education, nurse labor markets, minimum staffing ratios, jordan, teacher evaluation, immigrants, summer school, welfare, welfare reform, time limits, higher education measurement, college ratings, minimum wage, Council of Economic Advisers, Chief Economist, higher education, access, college

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.