Assistant Professor
133, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, New York
Policy Analysis and Management
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs


Jordan Matsudaira is an education and labor economist interested in identifying the most cost-effective interventions to improve social mobility. His research ranges from investigating the impact of bilingual education programs on the educational and economic outcomes of the children of immigrants,  to the effects of emerging accountability efforts in higher education, to the impact of unionization on teacher and student outcomes in charter schools, to studying long-run impacts of the social safety net on the economic well-being of both program participants and their children.   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, including Gainful Employment regulations of for-profit colleges and an expansion of the Federal overtime protections in the Fair Labor Standards Act, and led the technical development of the College Scorecard.

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?
  • Does complexity in the financial aid application process undermine the impact of Pell grants on college access and success?
  • What impact does federal financial aid have on college access, completion, and post-graduation outcomes (e.g., earnings, family formation, etc.)?
  • Do immigration enforcement activities reduce the chance of being hired for Hispanic workers?

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.


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

- 2016 Consultant to Clinton Presidential Campaign on education and labor policy.  

- 2016 U.S. Treasury Department Expert.  Consultant on risk-sharing proposals for federal government.  
- Consultant to U.S. Department of Education on measures of College Quality and various financial aid policy proposals

- Consultant to U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid initiatives on data transparency initiatives.

- Consultant to National Concil of State Boards of Nursing on measures to use for certification (and quality measurement) of RN programs.

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

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.

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

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.